Sunday, 28 June 2015

Musee Albert Kahn

When the heat bouncing off the stone is too too much, it's time to seek out the shade. In all sorts of hidden places in Paris there is plenty of greenery, as in here at the end of line 10 at Boulogne Billancourt.

As I am currently plotting a small Japanese creation, this was the spot for a little gardening homework, rest and reflection. Not only is it a lovely stroll garden, but there is also a French fruit and roses garden and a more classically English garden with some fine specimen cedars and conifer wood.

Water is everywhere as pond, rill, stream, waterfall and cascade, all controlled to fall in pleasing harmony. Enormous koi cruise the main pond. A fringe of tadpoles edged a runnel.

It's the perfect place to forget the city, if you can close your ears to the traffic noise for a while, sit back and dream. Super Sunday.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Mona Hathoum at the Pompidiou

Ha! So Paris gets an astonishing show before London. Happiness all round and bad luck the Tate, you have to wait until 2016.

Mona Hatoum's work, in one hundred pieces here is wonderful. But then I am a sucker for anyone who does things with maps. I recall first coming across her many years ago - the film of her colon, I think as a Turner prize contender - it is challenging and well executed, and here it is again in it's own little round space in the first gallery.

Here are videos (not often enough with seating, so mind your back if you want to watch them all, or make like the 60s and sit on the floor), installations, photographs, drawings and for some reason, some enormous cheese graters. You may groan a little at her terrible punning titles (Grater Divide, and Light Sentence), but there should be something for everyone, except the squeamish. Those not fond of offal should look away now.

Her life story and the exploration of her Lebanese identity and the violent dislocations of her homeland are the major subjects of her work. She uses all kinds of materials including human hair, woven, balled and embroidered with - watch our for the gentle tickle as you walk through one of the rooms.

Her fascination with mapping is displayed in projections on paper, glass beads, bars of olive oil soap and thread bare carpets. We didn't learn to do anything so ingenious when I studied cartography at University, more's the pity.

Not that I could exactly sneak it out under my coat, but the red globe I would happily take home and I admired the craft and tapestry skills of the women who made Twelve Windows.

It's on all summer, so pick a less than scorching day if you don't want to get heat stroke making your way to the top of the building (the exhibition space is air conditioned) and hithee.  Enjoy. I will be doing so many times in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Marche de la Poesie

Every June all the editors of poetry in France gather in the place outside Saint Sulpice (nice Delacroixs inside fyi) in the 6eme for the grand showcase of their wares.

Beautifully designed books and books as objets d'art abound. Whilst the poetry is still a little beyond my grasp language wise as I wrestle with meaning rather than being able to appreciate its elegance, I spent a sunny afternoon enjoying the general hubbub.

The poetmaton was fun. Enter booth, listen to two poems read by a real person, in this case a lovely lady who takes a good look at you and then decides what to read to you, enjoy, exit collecting your poems before leaving. Very cool.