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China Daily

Focus> Culture HK> Content
Friday, October 25, 2019, 11:24
Sculpting in time
By Chitralekha Basu
Friday, October 25, 2019, 11:24 By Chitralekha Basu

Noel Dolla’s submerged umbrellas are a throwback to Claude Monet’s iconic paintings of water lilies. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

At Jardin des Tuileries, a marble sculpture of Julius Caesar looks stoically on the scaled-down cast aluminium cypresses and grottoes that seem to have sprung up overnight. Magenta umbrellas submerged in the lake rise close to the surface — a cheeky throwback to Monet’s water lilies. Nearer the gates of the garden, the yellow granite column of Place de la Concorde in the background makes a splendid counterpoint to a circular wooden sculpture that looks like it’s made of hundreds of boat paddles (bread spatulas actually) tied to each other at right angles. It is Egypt-born artist Moataz Nasr’s tribute to migrants from the ancient history of his own culture, with a nod to displacements of all hues taking place around the world today. 

Passersby were invited to climb on the back of Johan Creten’s bat sculpture. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Sculpture of Julius Caesar with Jean-Marie Appriou’s cast aluminium cypresses and grottoes. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

These pop-up installations — the first two being creations by Jean-Marie Appriou and Noel Dolla — are part of FIAC’s Hors Les Murs series of exhibitions. The fair ended last Sunday, but the new art installed in the garden, on the way to Musee the Louvre, remains on display amid some of the most iconic structures and monuments of Restoration-era Paris. 

More public art dots the squares adjacent to Place de la Concorde, Place Vendome (a giant inflatable, illuminated pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama) and Avenue Winston Churchill. Outside the Petit Palais, people get photographed sitting astride a bat with expansive wings, sculpted in patinaed bronze by Johan Creten. Three massive chunks of volcanic rock strewn on the lawns reflect a piece of the sky and the bronze sculpture of the galloping horses atop the Grand Palais on their polished mirror surfaces. This is a work by Jean Denant. 

Moataz Nasr’s Sun Boat is a tribute to migrants  from history and the present. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

The polished mirror facets of volcanic rocks reflect the  sky and surroundings in Jean Denant’s installation. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Inside the Petit Palais, Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel  has put together works by a diverse group of acclaimed artists at different stages in their career under one roof. For example, a somber metal and stones installation by the pioneer of South Korea’s abstract art movements in the 1970s, Lee Ufan, sits next to young British artist Matt Copson’s laser show projected against an Albert Besnard mural on the ceiling. 

 These are a few among the several different ways FIAC encourages opening a dialogue between new and time-tested art, leveraging the shows on the abundance  of classical art and architecture in the public spaces in Paris. As Maxime Hourdequin, deputy director, exhibitor relations at FIAC, says, “We want to bring about a confluence of historical Paris — (represented by) Musee the Louvre, Grand Palais, Le Place Vendome — and contemporary art, because we don’t see Paris as a city situated only in the past but also in the present and future.” 


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