Maison européenne de la photographie | Mémoire et lumière

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Location Maison européenne de la photographie, 5/7 rue de Fourcy 75004 Paris

Opening hours 11:00 – 19:45 from Wednesday to Sunday from 28 June 2017 to 27 August 2017

General curator Jean-Luc Monterosso

Curator Pascal Hoël

Collaboration Frédérique Dolivet, Diane Kitzis

Support Ambassade du Japon en France

Media partnership A Nous Paris, Connaissance des Arts, UGC

Among all exhibitions I have ever visited, this is one of the hardest to take. Japan, after World War II.

It has just rained, and there were not many people. It was mostly quiet. The exhibition is divided into five parts, showing photos taken by Japanese photographers after the War. Not all photos were taken in Japan; some were in the US, Hong Kong, and the UK, but they didn’t hit me that much. I mean, of course they are very good works, and they preserve a certain period of history so that we can learn about that time today, but during the whole visit, for me, these photos of joyful scenes outside Japan were more like a break from the sight of the aftermath of the explosion.

There are pictures of items, ruins, animals, and people. The clothes were burnt, the bottles were melted, the food was carbonised. The houses were turned into pieces, the parks were covered in ashes. Beings were hurt, killed, or left alive with pain and scars. It’s sad, but I couldn’t even shed a tear. When reading the sentences that victims have written, images appeared in my mind, and it was terrible. Some people smiled, some cried, screamed, some just stared at the camera, their eyes blank. The effect of what happened to them erased all emotions. The atomic bombs finally made the victory of the War, but what did it really bring? Whose victory was it? And who took the suffering of the losers?

This is the absurd side of war. When I was in Bordeaux this summer, I remember meeting a guy who apologised for thinking that I was Japanese. He thought that it was offensive to me, since I later told him I was Chinese. I’m not blaming him; a lot of people in China thinks the same. I’m just saying that the past is the past, and there is no reason hating a nation just because so many years ago, when many of us were not even born, some of them became devils. Most people don’t want war, but when the fighting starts, you can’t sit aside and go, ‘I’m not in, because I don’t like it.’ It’s not up to you.

So in the end, those who don’t want to fight are sent to kill, but they don’t necessarily enjoy the victory.

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Galerie Marie Vitoux | Regard

Galerie Marie Vitoux | Regard

Location Galerie Marie Vitoux, 3 rue d’Ormesson place Sainte-Catherine 75004 Paris

Opening hours 14:00 – 19:00 from Wednesday to Saturday from 1 June 2017 to 22 July 2017

Artists Sarah Navasse, Mireille Arbellot, Nathalie Bourdreux, Alixe Fu, Abraham Hadad, Maryl Le Berre, Alain Nahum, Jean-Charles Quillin, Marie Rauzy, Ciro Rizzo, Bea Vangertruyden, Christophe Mirallès, Serge Labegorre, Jean Rustin

It’s still because of a newsletter from Sarah Navasse. The gallery is on a little road in the Marais, and it’s easy to go be ignored. The inside is not large either, but the atmosphere is quite interesting. There’s the ground floor, then some spiral staircases that lead to the basement. The whole place looks old but neat, and loads and loads of artworks are in stock.

At the reception was a friendly old lady and a nice girl who could speak English. The entry is free, and there are some books and postcards for sale.

The title of the exhibition is ‘regard’. It’s not the English word; it’s a noun in French, and it means ‘look’. I didn’t know what to expect at first. The displayed works present different looks in the eyes of different people, or even mannequins (Alain Nahum). There are paintings, photos and sculptures; in some works, you can distinguish the eyes, in some you can’t, but you still feel the stare. It’s a bit like a nightmare in the basement where you’re surrounded by paintings of eyes fixing tensely on you, but at the same time, when you get over it, it’s fun to observe all the looks, to ‘stare back’. I don’t deny that some works are really horrifying, though. I haven’t done any research on any of the works, so I was only imagining what the artists were going through when they created those pieces. Several constantly reminded me of depression or some other psychological problems.

Still, I really like this exhibition. When I was younger, one of my best friends, Eva, once told me that when she was bored, she’d observe everyone in the street, and she would find them very funny and would laugh so hard. I mean, when we really watch carefully, we find that everyone has a certain way of looking at other people and things, and through their looks are conveyed their attitudes. Then, different people take different looks differently according to their own style, according to how they observe the looks. I think that’s the point of this exhibition.

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Musée d’Orsay | Portraits de Cézanne

Musée d’Orsay | Portraits de Cézanne

Location Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur 75007 Paris France

Opening hours 9:30 – 18:00 from Tuesday to Wednesday and from Friday to Sunday, 9:30 – 21:45 on Thursdays, closed on Mondays, from 13 June 2017 to 24 September 2017

General curator John Elderfield, independant curator and art historian

Curator Xavier Rey, Director of the museums of Marseille

Organisers the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the National Portrait Gallery, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Exhibition also presented in
London, National Portrait Gallery, from 26 October 2017 to 11 February 2018
Washington, National Gallery of Art, from 25 March to 1st July 2018

I hadn’t paid special attention to the portraits of Paul Cézanne until this exhibition. During his career, though, he has painted almost 200 portraits, among which we can see himself. his wife, his family, and his friends.

The first was a self-portrait based on a photo. Honestly, it scared me at first look. There is no doubt that with the strokes of bright red colour, the way the eyes stare, the greenish grey shade of the visage, and the dark background, the painting says much more than the photo.

Cézanne painted people with efficiency and simplicity, but always getting the spirit of them, giving his portraits an interesting comical touch. The wide strokes and thick paints, the mixture and contrast of colours, the relations between the figure and its environment, the dark and clear contours, these are the characteristics that appear in most of his oil portraits.

My personal favourites also include a sketch of a bust of a man. It’s a very quick sketch, not so detailed, nevertheless precise and clean. It’s the same with his paintings, be it portraits, still lives, or landscapes. They are not as detailed as classical works; only the most vivid were kept.

The exhibition is not a very large one, but is indeed a great collection of carefully selected portraits by Cézanne. A chronology of  events throughout his lifetime is also presented, like at the exhibition of Frédéric Bazille, but in the middle instead of the end. With this chronology, and as you think about all his paintings, it can be seen how his artworks changed through time, while some things still stayed the same.

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SALO V – Salon du dessin érotique

Emilie Moutsis - Je pense à toi
Emilie Moutsis – Je pense à toi, plâtre et encre or, 2016.
Sarah Navasse Miller - Bouquet
Sarah Navasse Miller – Bouquet, graphite sur toile, 2017.
Guacolda - Self Fil
Guacolda – Self Fil, broderie inversée sur papier bulle, 2017.
Laurette Massant - Koningin
Laurette Massant – Koningin, crayon et graphite sur calque, 2016.
Dominique Pallier - Sans titre
Dominique Pallier – Sans titre, peinture acrylique sur tissu encollé sur plexi, 2002.
Doodle in the toilet
Doodle in the toilet.

Location La Galerie épisodique, 1 rue des Nanettes 75011 Paris France

Opening hours 11:00 – 21:00 from 2 June 2017 to 4 June 2017; 11:00 – 18:00 on 5 June 2017.

Artists Isabel Aguera, Frédéric Arditi, Maria Arendt, Jérôme Avraham Benarroch, Alain Barret, Ingrid Baudine, Tamina Beausoleil, Anya Belyat Giunta, Isaac Benacera, Nicolas Bernière, Laurent Bouckenooghe, Michel Castaignet, Fabrice Cazenave, Rosa Cazhur, Gokce Celikel, Dominique Chazy, Marjolaine Ciavaldini, Vincent Corpet, Claudie Dadu, Julie Dalmon, Odonchimeg Davaadorj, Joël David, Marielle Degioanni, Guillaume Dimanche, Léo Dorfner, Aurélie Dubois, Cornelia Eichhorn, Sandrine Elberg, Sylvester Engbrox, Frédéric Fontenoy, Carole Forges, Maike Freess, Aphrodite Fur, Iris Gallarotti, Yves Gobart, Fanny Gosse, Nathalie de La Grandville, Guacolda, Cristine Guinamand, Philippe Jacquin-Ravot, Cécilia Jauniau, Sara Jeanmougin, Chloé Julien, Kanaria, Katia Kameneva, Kara, Ayako David Kawauchi, Marcus Kreiss, Michel Lascault, Cendres Lavy, Frédéric Léglise, Li Suntta Alexandre, Claire Loupiac & Lou Farges, Marine Luszpinski, Laurent Mareschal, Laurette Massant, Marie Maurel de Maillé, Marc Molk, Camille Moravia, Hélène Mougin, Emilie Moutsis, Julie Navarro, Sarah Navasse Miller, Laurence Nicola, Maël Nozahic, Orsten Groom, Romuald&PJ, Dominique Pallier, Anne Paris, Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso, Marilena Pelosi, Julie Perin, Joël Person, Eric Pougeau, Marianne Pradier, Sophia Proença, Elisabeth Saint-Jalmes, Cheyenne Schiavone, Lia Schilder, Alice Sfintesco, Chloé Silbano, ShR Labo, Nathalie Tacheau, Anne-Marie Toffolo, Clarisse Tranchard, Olivier Turpin, France Valliccioni, Anne Van Der Linden, Jojo Wang, Dominique Weill, Marion Zilio.

Interventions Rim Battal, Karen Chessman, Mina El Bakali, Amélie Pironneau, Thibaut Thorez

Tattoo Cheyenne Schiavone

Massages Alberto Sorbelli

Commissioner Laurent Quénéhen

I learned about this exhibition from a newsletter from Sarah Navasse Miller whom I met during the portes ouvertes in Belleville. We have talked a bit, and she told me she did oil painting before, and that was why in her artworks with graphite and pencils, she represents the light very naturally.

Initially, I went to this exhibition to see her art, but in the end it didn’t really disappoint me that there was only one of her works. This whole thing is very inspiring.

I have never been to an exhibition totally dedicated to erotic art, because back in China, as far as I know, there was none. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and to be honest, I was thinking of the little porn comics I had read and the fics on AO3 tagged PWP. I was only half right.

Porn is frequently shown, but it doesn’t have to be a part of erotic art, and is definitely not its essence.

The first impressive thing about this exhibition is the variety of techniques. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, embroideries, with pencils, graphite, oil, ink, gouache, watercolour, on drawing paper, book pages, canvas, tracing paper, bubble wraps, plaster, shells, bones, whatever you can think of. This was what amazed me when I first walked through the gallery.

Down to the artworks, I found almost all of them very inspiring, and many have their own interesting and creative ways of being erotic. There were several pieces that are pretty mind-blowing.

A personal favourite is the plaster sculpture titled Je pense à toi by Emilie Moutsis. The sculpture itself is vivid. It shows a hand after masturbation, which matches the title perfectly well at the same time of avoiding being too obvious. It’s erotic because the artist chose to depict the sexual side of missing someone, and it’s art because of the simplicity, elegance and implicitness.

I also love Sarah’s work. This drawing was placed the closest to the doorway between the main hall and a large room, and it could be seen right after entering the room [if you turned left, of course]. It’s not even very erotic at first sight. and after seeing lots of evidently erotic works in the main hall, this one was like a spill of water right in the face.

Guacolda had two works on display, both embroideries on bubble wraps. I love how this technique gives the figures a fluid texture, which makes the artworks erotic. When the threads are red, it even looks bloody. I don’t know why but I have some weird love for bloody things, like the little porcelain brains and stuffed dead heads by Anne Basaille whom I met at the portes ouvertes in Belleville.

There were lots of other great works, and it was fun seeing how erotic objects and scenes were being depicted artistically. There were sex scenes of octopuses [Ingrid Baudine], nude anatomic bodies of humans and wild animals superimposed over each other [Tamina Beausoleil], ‘formless’ plaster sculptures in which fingers can be distinguished [Fabrice Cazenave], organs / organic bodies / humid things [whatever they are] twining together [Marjolaine Ciavaldini], hands at certain body parts drawn in several continuous lines [Claudie Dadu], bulls alone or together having sex on scapulas of veals [Julie Dalmon], plants combined with nude bodies [Fanny Gosse], collage of nude body parts [Chloé Julien], apparently disordered lines, shapes and colours [Orsten Groom], and many games of shapes.

I don’t really have much to conclude. This exhibition has been very entertaining and inspiring, and I love the way erotic art is treated just like all other categories of art. Plus, the little doodle in the toilet was really amusing, especially the drops of white paint on the floor.

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