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Calendar: France

Events in Art and Archaeology

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
PARIS, FRANCE  •  Musée d’Orsay  •  24 June 2014 - 28 September 2013
French sculptor and painter, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux came from an unusual background: his father was a bricklayer and his mother a lacemaker in Valenciennes. He was to pursue an exceptional career closely related to the "imperial party" of the reign of Napoleon III. Although he set off on a dazzling path within the arts, he was also seen to incarnate the romantic idea of the "cursed artist". He died aged 48, and his fifteen-year career was marked by great violence and passion, as he tirelessly strove to capture the subjects of his choosing or which were commissioned (the Pavillon de Flore of the Louvre, La Dance for the Garnier Opera House). This retrospective is the first since 1975 to be dedicated to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, sculptor, painter and designer, and the exhibition explores the work of this major figure of late nineteenth century French sculpture, whose work, according to Alexandre Dumas, was "more alive than the living."

Musée d’Orsay Website

Contact: Musée d’Orsay
62, rue de Lille
75343 Paris Cedex 07
Tel: (33) 1 40 49 48 14

Raymond Mason: Le Voyage
PARIS, FRANCE  •  Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris  •  7 March - 9 November 2014

To mark the acquisition of two major sculptures by Raymond Mason – the purchase of the bronze low relief La Place de l’Opéra (1957) and the donation by Madame Jeannine Hao of the painted work in plaster Le Voyage (1966–2010) – the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is paying tribute to this artist born in Birmingham in 1922. Raymond Mason moved to Paris in 1946 and lived there until his death in 2010.

This exhibition is one in a series of homages by the Museum to artists working in France whose work has not been widely shown. It comes in the wake of presentations of the work of Bernard Dufour (2008), Jean Dupuy (2009), Claude Garache (2012) and Pierre Henry (2013–2014).

The two works La Place de l’Opéra and Le Voyage by Raymond Mason are accompanied by a selection of seven sculptures and a number of drawings dating from 1950–2004, together with documentary photographs by Martine Franck and Henri Cartier-Bresson. All the exhibits come from the artist's Paris studio. This showing covers the main chronological stages in Mason's oeuvre with key works which for him were constant points of reference. It begins with the engraved bronze low relief street scene of Barcelona Tram (1953), a work praised by Picasso, which is followed by a series of drawn and sculpted Paris cityscapes.

Describing himself as a realist, Mason brings together passers-by from the streets in a dynamic, meticulously composed urban theatre. The glass-fronted box of St Mark’s Place, East Village, New York City (1972) offers an animated, colourful scene whose characters are transfigured by simple, vivid painting in the tradition of medieval statuary. He focuses our attention with a host of detailed facial expressions and varying emotions in the high-relief The Illuminated Crowd (1979-1980), of which poet Yves Bonnefoy would say, 'I look at The Illuminated Crowd and in it I see, first and foremost, the same empathy as ever with human affairs in all their most unglamorous manifestations.'

In other works the majestic beauty of the skyscrapers in the low-relief New York City (1987) is set off by Amazement (2003), with its hypnotic spectacle of the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris Website

Contact: Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
11 avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris

Tel: (33) 01 53 67 40 00

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Aujourd’hui le monde est mort: [Lost Human Genetic Archive]
PARIS, FRANCE  •  Palais de Tokyo  •  14 February - 7 September 2014
Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948, lives and works between New York and Tokyo) explores the nature of time and perception, and the origins of consciousness. Among his most famous photographic series, mention may be made of Dioramas (1976-), taken in natural history museums, these photographs depict stuffed animals displayed in artificial habitats, Theaters (1978-), photographed by exposing the photographic film throughout the entire projection of a film, and Seascapes (1980-), which capture the essence of marine landscapes throughout the world, retaining only their crucial elements, air and water.

Aujourd’hui le monde est mort [Lost Human Genetic Archive] is a new facet of a series of exhibitions Hiroshi Sugimoto has been elaborating for about ten years, juxtaposing his collections of objects, coming from a range of periods and cultures, and his photographic works.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Earliest Human Relatives, 1994
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Earliest Human Relatives, 1994
Courtesy Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo

Drawing on references to Albert Camus’s novel L’étranger [The Stranger] and Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, the artist has staged a world after human beings have ceased to exist: a personal vision of history, seen from the future. The exhibition consists of around thirty scenarios, narrated by different fictitious characters: a bee-keeper, a specialist in comparative religion, and a politician, who choose to preserve (or not to preserve) their individual genetic information for the future. 

Imagining the worst conceivable tomorrows gives me tremendous pleasure at the artistic level. The darkness of the future lights up my present, and foreknowledge of a coming end guarantees my happiness in living today. In this exhibition you will find the worst scenarios created by my imagination regarding the future of humankind. It is up to the younger generations to take every possible step to prevent them from becoming a reality. Where I am concerned, I choose to give completely free rein to my intuitions as an artist. That does not mean that we should not continue to hope for the future. I leave it to the last survivor to record the actual course of the end of the world, and to preserve the genetic information of the human species, either by metamorphosing into a mummy, by preserving his genes in a test tube, or else by handing on a DNA map of his genome. 

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Le Palais de Tokyo Website

Contact: Le Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris
Tel: (33) 1 47 23 54 01

Events in Pop Culture and Cinema

Orient Express: Restaurant carriage
Orient Express: Restaurant carriage
"Once upon a time the Orient Express"
PARIS, FRANCE  •  Institut du monde arabe  •  4 April - 31 August 2014

Made possible by the collaboration of the SNCF, this major exhibition comprises two parts:

The first part consists of a train: a locomotive followed by three exceptional carriages that are being displayed on the Institute’s forecourt. Visitors begin their tour of the train on a platform that has been reconstituted next to the train; they then are able to enter the train and visit the various carriages, where they discover the great luxury in which the travellers lived during their journeys, which culminated in the discovery of the Orient.

Questions relating to the geopolitical dimension of the Orient-Express also are addressed, through the train’s various routes and rail links that enabled the passengers to travel from Istanbul to Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and so on.

The Orient-Express was developed by Georges Nagelmackers, a daring visionary who wanted to create a luxury train that could span Europe, from Paris to Istanbul, at a time when border crossings were difficult and train journeys were particularly uncomfortable. After its launch in 1883, the Orient-Express became a legendary line and came to represent the quintessential art of travel—which is now a thing of the past—until just after World War II.

Institut du monde arabe Website


Institut du monde arabe
1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard
Place Mohammed V
75236 - Paris Cedex 05

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