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La semaine derniere (week 31)

La semaine derniere (week 31) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

 

- Queen of the Stone Age - the new album by this California-born, rock band founded in 1996 by Josh Homme, and, from the confession of its leader, the one that was most trouble to produce, is called Like Clockwork... And it may work like clockwork in the rich discography (5 albums already) of this charismatic band. There will be some for all tastes, and possibly even more for those who are not long-lasting fans of QOTSA (www.qotsa.com)

 

- L'Assiette des Mondes - in the countryside near Honfleur, a not so charming house from the outside. Step inside, and you will find the neverending smile of the owner / waitress / chef's wife and a welcome alternative to the traditional cuisine normande. Coming from all over the world, you can taste tajine, curries and fajitas, in an always changing menu. The owners are very present on the web, which is great to make this place better known. Congrats, we had a very good dinner (www.assiettedesmondes.fr)

 

- Taryn Simon, American-born, Berlin-based artist born in 1974. Her latest series, put together between 2008 and 2011 is called A Living Man declared dead and other Chapters. It is a systematic work about different outside of the ordinary bloodlines (eg rabies-infected rabbits in Australia, family of a terrorist or that of a living man that was declared dead by the authorities, which gives its tongue-in-cheek title to the whole series). Each work is also beautifully presented, in three parts: the first one is the systematic ordering of photos of members of the bloodline, the central part tells the story and the third one collects details - Taryn calls it her footnotes. Was presented a couple of years ago in Berlin's Hauptbanhof, which was a grand setting for this immense work. Pieces available at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris or Brussels, and at Gagosian in London or New York. Or buy the book on her website: www.tarynsimon.com

 

- la Flambee - good restaurant in the centre of Deauville, with exquisite meat. A good alternative to the Barriere chain

 

- le Cafe Francais - new Costes outpost in Bastille, Paris, refurbished by India Madhavi. Several rooms, several atmospheres. And an original food menu, with some traditional Costes dishes and some trouvailles, such as cold hake with mayo and pot-au-feu revisited with meatballs. Nice staff, even nicer with the somebodies...

 

- the Blandings - not enough episodes of Downton Abbey to keep you busy? Try the Blandings, an ITV series with the phenomenal Jennifer Saunders (the crazy one in AbFab). Clearly you won't have the unduplicable Maggie Smith asking "Why does every day involve a fight with an American" when sitting on a rotating chair, but some parts ought to be remembered. Here is a sample:

1) When discussing prospects of a dog food business: "Is Lisbon in America? Not especially. Oh, so much for the better"

2) To her brother wearing a straw hat to go to the Shropshire show: "Hat, patrician bearing and chop chop"

3) After a car crash into a tree: "Oh, this tree has been put there only recently. Please move it back to its original position"

Welcome to stiff upper lip Britland. Attention, Brett's habits and vocabs mandatory here

 

- seeing people at the airport during the summer holiday season rushing to a boarding gate, just to find out the boarding of their flight had not yet started... Cruel, I know

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

 

- that two out of three Parafe cabins - these are the booths that scan your passport and your fingerprints in Paris without having to go through the usual lack of politeness of a custom clerk, great system, registration mandatory - in the busiest CDG terminal (2E) were broken on the busiest day of the year (3 August). Very smartly - unemployment counter measure? - Paris airports put a guy at the entrance of the lonely functioning booth to show people how to place their passport on the reader. Really? Judging by the state of excitement of the woman before me, it may not have been so superfluous... But pls next time, two out of three working would already be a 100% improvement...

 

 

Je n'ai pas tranche sur:

 

- the new-ish Tick & Live FNAC app (French Amazon) - originally a great idea: gather all the tickets bought on Fnac Spectacles (exhibitions, theatre, concerts, etc) in one place on one's iPhone. No need to queue to get them printed (very 19th century once you have booked all on the Internet), no need to pay the price of another ticket to get them sent to your house (when they arrive), no need to fight with your printer or emails to print them at home (when you get to retrieve them). So what is the issue then? Only 1 out of 5 tickets can be downloaded on the app. The rest has to be queued for, sent at home or printed... Once it becomes universal, it will be brilliant

 

 

Je veux essayer:

 

- the Artel Polka Dot tumblers (pictured): dots are being fashionable these days with Kusama designing for Vuitton and Lichtenstein all over the European contemporary art museums. These glasses are designed for the Bohemian glassware company Artel and can be found on www.artelglass.com or www.artedona.com

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C'etait pourtant une bonne idee (Kinship, avec Isabelle Adjani, Theatre de Paris, Paris)

C'etait pourtant une bonne idee (Kinship, avec Isabelle Adjani, Theatre de Paris, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Eh oui, c’était pourtant une bonne idée. Plus de huit ans que la divine Adjani n’était pas remontee sur les planches. On y a regarde de plus pres donc. D’abord le choix du theatre, le Theatre de Paris, propriété de l’iconoclaste Granjon, of Ventes-privees fame. Cela a pu paraitre un peu étrange. Plus connu pour ses opérettes sous la domination de Hossein, et pour des pieces faciles depuis sa reprise, on s’est dit pourquoi pas?

Ensuite, les différents psychodrames qui ont precede au lancement de cette production. La demission de Carmen Maura - qui, il faut l’avouer ici, avait été sans doute la raison principale de notre enthousiasme initial pour cette piece inconnue. Remplacee par Vittoria Scognamiglio, moins charismatique mais qui tire bien son epingle du jeu in fine. Puis la demission du metteur en scene initial, Julien Collet. Pas tellement commentée officiellement, celle-ci a donne lieu a de nombreuses speculations sourdes, d’autant que le fils de Patrick Collet connait bien la grande Adjani. Il a été son conseiller artistique sur de nombreux films recents, comme la Journee de la jupe, ou l’excellent David et madame Hansen d’Alexandre Astier, et le réalisateur du documentaire d’Arte Isabelle Adjani, deux ou trois choses qu’on ne sait pas d’elle

Adjani ne travaillant qu’avec des proches, et assumant elle-même (perfectionnisme ou control-freakisme?) la direction artistique de ses projets, Collet a été remplace par Dominique Borg, la costumière attitrée de la grande Isabelle, rencontree sur le tournage de Camille Claudel. Curieux choix au depart, qui se revele excellent, tant les trouvailles de mise en scene sont nombreuses. Sans doute Dominique Borg s’est-elle souvenue de ses propres experiences scéniques, notamment sous la houlette d’Antoine Vitez, pour diriger ses comédiens sur la scene du Theatre de Paris

La piece, ensuite. Qui est Carey Perloff? Une auteur de theatre américain, directrice artistique de la troupe du Conservatoire de San Francisco (ACT) depuis une vingtaine d’années, diplômée de Stanford et d’un deuxième cycle a Oxford. Loin d’être une imbecile donc. Surtout metteur en scene, elle a écrit plusieurs pieces, dont je ne crois pas qu’une seule ait été jouee en Europe? Peut-etre y avait-il une raison

Kinship, depuis quelques semaines, ou la promotion sauvage du retour d’Adjani a la scene s’est emballée par le manque de promotion volontaire de l’équipe de Kinship, le peu d’invitations envoyées a des journalistes pour la premiere (repoussee deux fois), et le strict embargo impose aux journalistes de profession sur la publication d’une critique avant le 19 novembre, Kinship, donc, est presentee comme une version libre et contemporaine de Phedre. Nous pensons que c’est une erreur. D’abord parce que cette presentation peche par excès d’arrogance, puis, surtout peut-être, parce que cette autocomparaison place la barre tellement haut qu’on sera forcement decus. Et c’est bien la le problème: la distribution? Impeccable. Le jeu d’acteurs? Merveilleux. La direction? Superbe. La piece? Decevante

Pourquoi? Le plot est simple: une executive woman a la sauce provinciale américaine, directrice charismatique d’un journal de province, tombe amoureuse de son jeune stagiaire pigiste, qui s’avère être le fils de sa meilleure amie, ce qu’elle ignore. L’invraisemblance de ce synopsis est d’abord intelligemment balayée dans les premieres minutes de dialogue: qui en effet ne connait pas les enfants de sa meilleure amie? On nous suggère que Adjani et Scognamiglio ne sont amies que depuis la mort - recente - de la mere d’Adjani, elle-même meilleure amie de l’italienne, et éloignée de sa fille. Apres le deces de la mere, Adjani (dans la piece toujours) a reporte son affection filiale decue sur la meilleure amie de sa mere, ce qui donne de la vraisemblance a la situation de depart et explique qu’elles connaissent peu leurs vies privées respectives

On s’attend donc a un triangle destructeur, a l’examen minutieux et approfondi de passions humaines, a la revue de l’éternel desequilibre carriere-famille pour les femmes, a la comparaison des generations, au renversement des idées bourgeoises sur l’age des amants (dont la vie politique nous a livre bien récemment un exemple flagrant et rafraichissant). En somme a une piece contemporaine inspirée de Ibsen, de Pinter et surtout de Lilian Hellman. Lisant le pitch avant la representation, j’ai tout de suite pense a Hellman, auteur(e) engagée de merveilleuses pieces, tellement plus modernes, quoique plus anciennes, que ladite Kinship (pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas, on conseillera simplement The Children’s Hour, sa premiere piece de 1934, et the Autumn Garden, écrite en 1951)

Alas! On reste toujours sur sa faim dans cette piece dont on se dit encore a la tombée du rideau qu’elle n’a pas demarre! Et c’est dommage car Adjani et Schneider sont absolument superbes. Et les trouvailles de mise en scene laissaient presager le meilleur. Quelles sont-elles justement? Pele-mele: la rythmique de la piece en actes écrite en grandes lettres effrayantes sur le fond de la scene; l’apparition des 3 comédiens toujours deux par deux, jamais ensemble (meme pendant les saluts, sauf le final); l’intervention en kabuki de la danseuse Blandine Laignel et la voix off (Adjani ou bien?) déclamant des passages de la Phedre originale. Il y a bien quelques maladresses: des petits-dejeuners entre Isabelle et Vittoria ou elles ne sont pas face a face, mais toutes les deux face au public - pratique pour se parler et favoriser les confidences, ou bien encore une musique inadaptée car trop molle pour masquer les changements de decor - on aurait aime du Thom Willems, ou meme du Philip Glass

En resume, il faut y aller. Bien sur. Pour Adjani. Pour Niels Schneider, extrêmement prometteur au theatre. Pour soutenir les efforts de mise en scene de Dominique Borg, que l’on aimerait vraiment revoir. Mais on souhaite a la grande Mademoiselle Adjani qu’elle choisisse avec plus de discernement et de conviction la piece de son prochain retour aux planches. On veut bien l’y aider. Surtout si cela lui permet de revenir avant huit ans


Kinship, de Carey Perloff
Mise en scene Dominique Borg
Avec Isabelle Adjani, Vittoria Scognamiglio, Niels Schneider
Theatre de Paris, Salle Rejane
15 rue Blanche, Paris 9e
Jusqu’au 25 janvier 2015 (pour le moment)

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Major Tom et Rebecca sont deux junkies - Ashes to Ashes, de Pinter (Theatre de l'Oeuvre, Paris)

Major Tom et Rebecca sont deux junkies - Ashes to Ashes, de Pinter (Theatre de l'Oeuvre, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

C’est amusant de rentrer dans une salle de theatre au bras d’une grande dame de la nuit parisienne. Cela ne m’était jamais arrive (il n’y a cela dit plus beaucoup de grandes dames de la nuit qui vont encore au theatre). Tout le monde vous regarde. Etais-je le petit-fils, le secrétaire, ou le gigolo? Rien de tout cela, juste un ami d’ami rencontre quelques dizaines de minutes avant notre entree a la Maison de l’Oeuvre, ancien nom de cette merveilleuse salle creee par Lugne-Poe, au coeur du 9eme, cite Monthiers, a la toute fin du XIXeme siècle

Le titre de cette piece qui met en scene ce soir Carole Bouquet et Gerard Desarthe est abscons, pour le moins: Ashes to Ashes est le titre que son auteur, le très honorable Harold Pinter, a voulu dans sa langue maternelle. Dispersion est celui donné par je ne sais lequel des traducteurs. On pense a la Bible (la traduction de notre “tu es né poussière et tu retourneras poussière”), et aussi a David Bowie bien sur, qui ecrivit sa chanson en 1980, soit 16 ans avant que Pinter ne fît jouer sa piece au Royal Court pour la premiere fois

On ne sait pas qui sont Devlin et Rebecca. Ni surtout, et c’est le plus important, les liens qui les unissent. Je crois meme que Pinter voulait que cela restât ainsi, permettant a chacun d’interpreter au mieux selon sa sensibilité

La piece, courte, moins d’une heure, un seul acte, est un dialogue dans lequel Devlin a instantanément le dessus sur Rebecca. Admirable Carole Bouquet qui, malgré son air altier et son port de tête de danseuse, arrive à transmettre tellement efficacement cette fragilité incroyable de Rebecca. Desarthe, que certains ne reconnaitront pas faute de l’avoir vu depuis quelques années, est un cran en dessous, non en termes de performance, mais en termes d’intensité. Il n’a pas besoin d’être intense puisque son role semble l'être pour lui

Il s’agit ici d’un questionnement ininterrompu de Devlin vis-a-vis de Rebecca. Cela commence par des questions sur son amant. On pense a un couple ou elle aurait été infidèle et ou il aurait pardonne. Il aurait meme console. Puis très vite, on bascule dans la psychologie: l’amant a tente d’assassiner Rebecca en l’étranglant, Rebecca ne supporte pas d’entendre des sirènes de police qui s’éloignent, ou de faire tomber son crayon. On pense maintenant a une analyse, avec toutefois l’arrivee progressive du sentiment amoureux. Enfin, Devlin prend la place de l’amant, en tentant d’étrangler Rebecca encore. Ou bien? Tout ceci n’aurait-il été que rêvé? Est-il possible que Devlin soit a la fois l’analyste, le mari et l’amant?

Pinter, et Desarthe le metteur en scene, ne choisissent pas. C’est pour cela qu’il n’est pas très grave de raconter l’histoire, ni sa propre interpretation de l’histoire

La mise en scene de depart est Mondrianesque. Un rideau ressemblant aux polders hollandais qui ont tant inspire le peintre agit comme un papier calque nous permettant de jeter un oeil sur l’intérieur de Rebecca et Devlin. Avant le debut de la piece, Devlin se sert un verre. Ce verre m’a fait beaucoup m’interroger tout au long de la piece: pour moi, les différentes saynètes sont des snapshots qui s’étalent sur plusieurs mois, peut-être plusieurs années. Ceci semble être contredit par l’unique didascalie de Pinter (Time: Now. A house in the country). Peu m’importe, c’est la seule façon de sortir de l’absurde - si l’on veut vraiment en sortir. Mais voila, ce ne peut pas être le parti pris de Desarthe non plus: le fameux verre reste a la meme place, sur la meme table, tout au long de la piece. Mais alors, si ce n’est pas ca, pourquoi les petits dialogues sont-ils coupes de noir, pour les saucissonner tout au long de cette longue discussion...

Voila a peu pres les pensées qui m’agitaient lorsqu’apres a peine 50 minutes et beaucoup de plaisir, la lumière s’est rallumee sur ce petit theatre. Ne manquez sous aucun prétexte cette merveille de piece, de mise en scene et d’interpretation. Et n’hésitez pas a me dire quelle est VOTRE interpretation de ce charmant spectacle. Ni si vous comprenez mon titre...

Ashes to ashes (Dispersion), de Harold Pinter
Mis en scene par Gerard Desarthe
Avec Carole Bouquet et Gerard Desarthe
Theatre de l’Oeuvre, Cite Monthiers, 55 rue de Clichy, Paris 9e
Date de fin non connue, surement tout le mois d’octobre et debut novembre aussi

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La semaine derniere (week of 15 Sept 14)

La semaine derniere (week of 15 Sept 14) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:
- Coretta (pictured) - yes everyone is talking about it, in Paris and elsewhere, and everyone is right. In a rather unappealing area (rue Cardinet, corner with bd Pereire), within a stone's throw of fashinable Batignolles, this neo-bistro is named after Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King. Everything is good is this eco-friendly place, but what I particularly liked is the beautiful terrace. Try everything, come back, and try everything again. (Coretta, 151bis rue Cardinet, Paris 17e)

- Edouard - de l'equipe de Marion Ruggieri sur Europe 1. Impossible de trouver son nom sur le site, mais beaucoup d'humour. A egaye notre petite escapade en voiture samedi matin

- Merci pour ce moment, de Valerie Trierweiler - oui beaucoup de surprises cette semaine. Je deroge a ma regle habituelle de ne jamais parler politique. A lire absolument si l'on veut avoir une idee precise de la facon dont nos impots servent, ou ont servi, a financer les frasques de notre President. Very telling - and dont mind what we will call typos, there are quite a few

- TRX - a totally great way to work out at home, or in very small space. Born from the mind of an ex Navy marine more than a decade ago, this is the work out gear that totally ensures that you get as much muscle pain as humanly bearable the next day (https://www.trxtraining.com)

- Market - we often forget about old restaurants in our favourite cities, that used to be hot and trendy when they opened, and of which no one talks any more. Market (7 avenue Matignon, Paris 8e) is in this category, and I will endeavour to talk about one of these places every week now. Delicious food (tuna tartare, pizza alla rucola, steamed saint-pierre, chicken with carrots and garlic), good enough service, large space and even a small terrace - what's not to like

- Bates Motel - the TV shows that is meant to be the prequel of Psycho, describing the teenage years of Norman Bates before he becomes what we all now. Excellent script, where nothing is really as it seems, beautiful landscapes, interesting secondary characters, there are already two seasons. Watch it, wont tell more. Dont wanna be a spoiler...


Je n'ai pas aime
- the Eurostar business class - it was so horrendous that I had prepared a whole post about it, but then I decided we all had better things to do. In no particular order - for a 620 euros ticket: sitting in the only business coach (Eurostar smartly parks all the business travelers in one coach, whilst part of the motivation to buy a business ticket is precisely to get more space) which was the one with a permanent whistling (sorry Sir, this is the air con machine, it is either that or no air con...), no choice of food, a lunch tray that had max 450 calories (good for diet, but not if you have a whole day to go by afterwards), I could list for another 20 lines all the things that went wrong. I would have said Eurostar is the best ad for Air France, if it was not for the Air France pilot strike...

- the new maquette of the French Optimum - il y a des ronds partout, on ne comprend rien. Beaucoup moins d'articles, des portraits en quelques chiffres, une alternance de papiers glace et journal, j'ai beaucoup de mal a comprendre les raisons du changement. Le numero de septembre annonce que la nouvelle maquette a eclos apres plus de 900 heures de meeting. Peut-etre auraient-ils du en faire mille?

- Mary Goodnight - what a waste. The space is gorgeous, even the location could have been an advantage, opposite le Murat, where the food, which was never the reason to go there, started a long time ago to be a good reason not to go there, so why is this such a waste? The owners have hired Thiou, of Quai d'Orsay fame, which promised a lot. The answer is simple: the service. Unpalatable. Not the food (pretty good, although of lesser quality than in the original Thiou), but the service. Entering into a completely empty restaurant (was quite early for lunch), I pick any table as encouraged by the guy placing me. Too bad, this was the only table where I could not sit as "it was booked specifically". Did you ever try to book specifically a table in a restaurant? Unless you know the name or the number of the table of course, which 99% of the people don't, even in places where they are very familiar. And unfortunately Mary Goodnight is not one that will have many regulars if they continue welcoming people this way


Je n’ai pas tranche sur:
- Maintenant ou jamais - le deuxieme film de Serge Frydman, dix ans apres Mon Ange (avec Vanessa Paradis). L'intrigue est simple: une mere de famille cambriole une banque pour sauver sa famille de la ruine. Pourquoi pas? Ce qui me derange plus, c'est la morale de l'histoire. Je vous laisse la decouvrir, mais a-t-on vraiment encore besoin de bank bashing? Mention speciale pour Nicolas Duvauchelle et Leila Bekhti, excellents

- Frame Brasserie - the restaurant of the Pullman hotel, right at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which has several well-published peculiarities, in particular 1) being the first “franco-californian” brasserie in Paris and 2) grow its own herbs, vegetables and even flowers, at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. Good to very good food, inventive recipes, but I am more doubtful on the decor (a bit impersonal and anachronic in this place) and the people. Definitely need to upgrade the latter

- Les parapluies de Cherbourg - was last week at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, with Nathalie Dessay in Madame Emery, and Vincent Niclo as Guy. Opening curtain with Michel Legrand (newly wed!) on stage, craving for applause, interesting but fairly basic direction and scenography, what I believe left me a bit stranded on my chair was the everyday life side to it: should probably have remained the great film (that got Cannes’ Golden Palm in 1964) as the lyrics do not translate too well on stage. Good production though

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Karl Marx chez Frederic Taddei - La Capital et son Singe (Theatre de la Colline, Paris)

Karl Marx chez Frederic Taddei - La Capital et son Singe (Theatre de la Colline, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Toute la journee je reflechissais: une piece de 4 heures sur le Capital de Marx, sans entracte probablement, allais-je tenir? Et plus que cela, mes 10 camarades, inaugurant ce soir-la notre petit groupe de Theatre de la Colline, allaient-ils continuer la saison? J'essayais vaguement de me rememorer les principes du pave inacheve, de la correspondence entre Marx et Engels, de l'influence de Hegel.

Nous arrivons, la scene est ouverte comme souvent, les comediens deja la, semblent vaquer a leurs occupations. Soudain un comedien que j'avais pris pour un spectacteur cherchant une place (le concept de "sa" place avait ete aboli, le placement etait libre, joyeux premice a une discussion marxiste) commence a parler. Il prend l'accent allemand, comme un francais qui essaie de faire rire a la fin d'un banquet. Mon Dieu, est-ce que ca va etre cela pendant les 2 heures 45 que dure vraiment la piece?

Puis, tout s'enchaine tres vite. Tres, tres vite. L'accent allemand represente Freud. Un autre personnage arrive, joue par le meme comedien, toujours l'accent allemand, mais different. Brecht. Un troisieme. Foucault. Trois epoques differentes. On comprend deja assez bien que Sylvain Creuzevault et sa troupe vont nous sortir de nos zones de confort. Je me cale, tant bien que mal, tant les gradins sont inconfortables. Go ahead, you have my attention

Il ne faut pas decrocher. La periode de calembours passee - la plus basse forme de l'humour - le debat dans ce meme comedien entre trois personnages de cultures et d'epoques differentes est vif. On croirait une reprise de Nouveau Roman, cree il y a deux ans a la Colline justement, qui montrait plusieurs seances de brainstorming entre Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Sarraute ou Butor, et leur editeur

Maintenant la troupe rentre. C'est la troupe des socialistes de la revolution de 1848. Blanqui, Raspail (en jupes, really??), Barbes, l'ouvrier Albert, premier ouvrier a rentrer au Parlement. On debat, on s'invective. Le ton est drole, vif, on croit vraiment assister a une reunion de debrief de la revolution de mai 1848. On comprend la que Creuzevault fait la part belle a l'improvisation de ses comediens. ils se coupent parfois la parole, mais cela n'ajoute-t-il pas a la realite de leurs discussions. L'humour est parfois discutable, mais souvent spirituel. Quel est le lien avec le comedien trysmegiste du debut (qui maintenant joue Blanqui)? En faut-il vraiment un...

On a parfois l'impression d'etre chez Frederic Taddei, un soir de Finkielkraut. On se cultive aussi, ou en tous cas on revise. Oui, bien sur, on savait tous que l'ideologie marxiste definissait la valeur d'une chose par le temps mis pour produire cette chose, ce qui conduit inexorablement a entrainer une baisse de la valeur si l'efficacite des moyens de production augmente. Il faut donc produire le plus lentement possible, pour ne pas deprecier ce que l'on produit

Cette plongee dans Boboland, dans la salle, et sur la scene, est en fait assez rafraichissante

C'est la que l'on passe a la troisieme partie, plus politique. 1919. Premiere annee de la Republique de Weimar. Friedrich Ebert apparait sur scene. Karl Marx aussi alors qu'il est deja mort. Cette partie-la est moins heureuse, plus confuse, moins dynamique

On retrouve ensuite le proces des revolutionnaires de l'acte 2. L'un d'eux apparait en Spartacus. La performance bascule dans la bouffonnerie, bienvenue apres plus de deux heures de concentration, de challenges de culture generale. Un des accuses est le bouffon de service - on rit beaucoup a la fin, meme si certaines scenes sont un peu ridicules (la scene de l'orangeade par exemple, qui peut-etre n'existera pas le soir ou vous verrez cette piece)

Car il faut voir le Capital et son Singe. Il n'y a pas d'autre choix. Une critique theatrale a grosses lunettes trouve que c'est au mieux une succession de sketches. Peut-etre. Si elle veut. Mais pourquoi cela serait-il moins noble qu'autre chose. Surtout quand les sketches ont pour base une quarantaine de textes fondateurs de la culture contemporaine, comme le rappelle, de facon bienvenue, le petit livret produit par la Colline

Le Capital et son Singe, de Sylvain Creuzevault
A partir de textes de Karl Marx, Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Lautreamont, Baudelaire, Balzac, Goethe, Nietzsche, Aragon, etc
Theatre de la Colline
Jusqu'au 12 octobre 2014

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La semaine derniere (week of 5 Sept 14)

La semaine derniere (week of 5 Sept 14) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

- The Semiramis Hotel in Kifisia, Athens - built in 2004 by Karim Rashid and owned by Dakis Joannou, one of the 10 people who can influence the quote of a contemporary artist in the world, there is no better definition to it than a pop hotel. If you dont like bright yellow, pink and green, dont go there. Almost everything is in these three colours. The central pool is magnificent (pictured), the gym well equipped, the restaurant delicious, the breakfast enormous (if you want), even housekeepers speak perfect English. What to improve? Towels and glasses in the gym, a less overwhelmed staff when there are three people in the restaurant and some minor refurbishment in the rooms as the hotel is already 10 years old. What's to like? Pool bungalows with their private secluded terrace. And all the art collection. Gorgeous

 

- Thalasso Mou - a wonderful hidden gem on Pisso Alikyi beach in Paros. First, the (now famous) wow effect: a wonderful terrace under the trees, on the beach, by the sea. Then, the second wow effect: the food. Everything there is better than pretty much elsewhere on the island. Tarama to die for, aubergine puree mixed with enough but not too much garlic and coriander, delicious squid, impressive tuna tartare and tuna carpaccio, excellent chicken, not too many fried stuff, which seem to have invaded Greek cuisine to an unspeakable point

 

- Ida, by Pawel Pawlikowski - simple story: Poland 60s. A young novitiate nun is about to be confirmed into her vows but she is requested beforehand to meet her only living family member, an aunt she still has in her native village. And she discovers she is Jewish, and plenty of other secrets about her past. But summarising the story does not do justice to this beautifully made film. Very few dialogues, everything is in the director’s camera, his plans, his close ups, his suggestions. Watch on a big screen, but if you cannot, the iPad would do. But watch it. Brilliant

 

- the Air France lounge in Athens airport - was quite a long time I had not been. Immaculate state of cleanliness, seats far enough from one another not to have your neighbour peeping over your shoulder, huge and well stocked up Nespresso machine, German brown bread for health-conscious people, smiling and welcoming attendants, turbo-speed Wi-Fi that does not take half an hour to set up, one can even crash there when on an internal flight to the islands (hence not Air France), if one flew the day before into Athens. Only (small) shadow: perhaps a too eager housekeeper, who gave me the cold look when I dared cutting a piece of bread and leaving one half on the cutting board... When will the Roissy-based AF lounges take examples of what is great elsewehere in their network?

 

- Air France - yes again, and in the J'ai aime section of this column - I want to pay tribute to the most recent changes the French domestic airline is making: much more decent trays (although there is still some progress here to make), increase in general staff friendliness and above all a much welcome iPad app (AF Press) allowing anyone traveling on an AF flight to download an impressive amount of press from 24 hours before to 24 hours after their flight. Only change that is not an improvement in my view: this idea, copied on Lufthansa, that every member of staff has to call their VIP passengers by their name throughout the flight... Confidentiality, please

 

- Other People’s Money, by Justin Cartwright - a rather confidential book which one could easily mistake as a novel by Julian Fellowes as it deals with our favourite lord's recurring themes: class behaviour, reject or acceptance of socially different people, influence of money over education. The plot is simple: what is the impact on the different people of a rich household of the death of the paterfamilias and the coming of age of his son who just took over the family’s bank, on the back of the financial crisis, and just did whatever it took to survive. Interesting. Entertaining. Read it

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

- Supercondriaque - mais alors pas du tout du tout aime. A quoi pensais-je? Un film de/avec Dany Boon et Kad Merad, je m'etais dit que ce serait parfait pour passer une partie d'un voyage de 3 heures en avion! Que nenni! Si j'avais trouve une fenetre a ouvrir je me serais jete par la fenetre... Un scenario inexistant au mieux, au pire grotesque, une intrigue ultra ténue, rien dans ce film ne rattrape la pauvrete de l'idee. Si ce n'est le jeu des acteurs, mais si mal employes. Mention speciale a Alice Pol, decouverte dans ce film, qui a ete mon seul objet de distraction...

 

 

Je n'ai pas tranche

- the men swimsuit department at Paris-based Bon Marche. I was telling myself that if there was one place in Paris where I could find Cuisse de Grenouille or McKeene swimsuits, and Friedricks + Mae beach towels, it would be there. Stupid! They have Orlebar Brown (which I have liked for years, but are nothing new, and the latest design of which with a sort of tourist photo on the suit is horrendous), Sundeck (this year's Villebrequin, but at least they dry more quickly) or Robinson des Bois (a few designs only would not make people confuse you with a Peter de Rome’s film star, but even then, the inner swimsuit is less than comfortable. And they take ages to dry). Mr Bon Marche, pls stock up for next year – and go outside your box

 

 

Je veux essayer

- Humin - THE new app which is meant to revolution your smartphones' (iPhones only for now) contacts and phone, as much as Evernote has revolutionned your note taking habits. Only available in the US for now, register on www.humin.com to be the first ones to know. Another app that would be great to have in Europe too would be Shake, which allows you to exchange contracts digitally

 

- Wists - what is this? A chip that you stick to your everyday life objects that you often lose, and allows you to geolocalise them. Available in September on www.wistiki.com - the first step into object connectivity?

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A locked-in exhibition (Collection Pinault, Conciergerie, Paris)

A locked-in exhibition (Collection Pinault, Conciergerie, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

An exhibition on enfermement (locking, imprisonment, sperring?) in the largest prison in Paris clearly, in France surely, and in the world after Australia maybe - normal says the press file. Not very original I think. We all have seen dozens of times the works bought or commissioned by Francois Pinault: Venezia, Versailles, randomly, even Fondation Maeght last summer. Now la Conciergerie. Where will he stop?

 

The first piece is Pistoletto' La Gabbia (the cage). As usual Pistoletto is witty, so witty that about 95% of the visitors do not realise it is a piece of art. "Please, don't touch. It is art, says the guard. Oh really, is it art? says an astonished tourist". I have stayed 10 minutes in front of it, and only one person has stopped. Poverino Michelangelo!

 

The imprisonment in the second piece, a video by Diana Thater, is more provided by the set up of the screens, pentagonally circling around visitors, than by the films themselves. At this point, I am already fed up with all the philistines standing between the screens and the projectors - after a day of Perrotin's contemporary art vulgarisation, I feel that la coupe est pleine when it comes to dealing with people and contemporary art. Almost alone in this space now, I quickly immerse myself in Thater's world of superpositions. Gesperrt, ich fuehle, despite the swan swimming on the deep blue sea. The piece is titled Chernobyl. What the hell are the swan and the sea doing here? No comment

 

One cannot really comment on Bill Viola's Hall of Whispers, slow, high quality resolution images, sinking you in the videos, as usual. It has to be experienced, a bit like the top floor of Collection Lambert in Avignon, designed by Claude Leveque. The title is funny though. Hall of whispers, for a video installation that shows five people on each side of the room, with gags, trying to speak. But why the hell do they also close their eyes?

 

Back in the light, and a more usual setting. Raphaelle Ricol's Malgre la difference is brilliant (pictured). Watch the photo. So self-explanatory. Note to self: explore the rest of Ricol's works. The opportunity is given to me subito: Sans titre (gaz et telephone) is a lot less witty than the first piece, which, btw, has been massacred by the editor of the leaflet, who only shows half of the painting, and therefore takes away completely the message

 

The four paitings by Iranian artist Ahmed Alsoudani look like a Bacon study that has met a grumpy Gilles Barbier. Not my cup of tea

 

Boris Mikhailov on the leaflet looks like a gay icon: again, the editor has chosen to show two sailors with their pompoms, enhanced by subsequent colouration of the photo. Not the best choice of topic, Mr Editor, Mikhailov is the contemporary Arbus, not Mapplethorpe! But Mikhailov technique is quite clear. Just that it has been a long time since we heard about USSR. And I am clearly not a millenial...

 

Bertille Bak's video looks like a photo by Stephane Couturier. I don't understand the piece by Mona Hatoum that follows. With such pieces, one needs an explanation on the piece itself, not on the artist. My favourite by her remains the string of swings presented a couple of years ago at the MacVal. Then Pinault's blue eyed girl, Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu. I have never been so fond of her work, and I don't really understand the rapport between the pieces presented here and imprisonment. Is it more subtle, such as Mehretu being the next artist presented in Versailles? Ooops, sorry, I promised myself I will not go there

 

Most of the videos with sound here are presented with headset - I would have preferred the sounds to intermix, like in the basement of the Palais de Tokyo. That would have been an acoustic imprisonment

 

Temps mort by Mohamed Bourouissa. I can stay there for hours. At first, I wonder why the quality is so poor. Then I realise it is filmed with a mobile phone, and meant simply to describe the usual Parisian life, and directed at someone who is locked away. In prison. And lives a temps mort. This is the most powerful piece so far. Everyone passes by. No one gets it. I feel like shouting; instead I transform myself in mediateur - and summons people to sit down, watch and listen. Not much success, I am afraid

 

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's Old Persons Home is amazing, especially given two of these people move - they are all on wheelchair. But more striking is the mix of people who seem to co-habit in this pensioners’ home: all religions, all nationalities, all dignities. A contemporary Noe's Arch? A Russian girl in the corner is patting the resin head of one of Yuan and Yu's characters. Oh, creepy!

 

The collection of works by Llyn Foulkes reminds me of John Stezaker, who I believe is regaining momentum on the art scene. Tellez video installation looks like Pinault-owned Vezzoli's video with Sharon Stone and BHL playing the Clintons, that has been widely exhibited. Inside though, it is more Gillian Wearing-like

 

Yet another Hirst's pharmacy

 

Then I feel like a voyeur in an interior designed by Kristian Burford, half-way between a failed Maria Pergay designed house, and something undescribable. I am less charmed by the pieces by Justin Matherly and Chen Zen. And Tetsumi Kudo. And Alina Szapocznikow - sort of 3-D bacon, with a negative twist. And Maria Marchal, the message of whom I don't really get

 

Fortunately, before the end, Frederic Kunath shows a welcome piece, the Past is a Foreign Country. Mix between recklessness of tropical shirt, head imprisoned in a snowball and focus, almost locked-in face of the Duane Hanson-like character, is he really trying to forget the past?

 

Last piece, commissioned for this exhibition, White Elements, executés à Wavre, by Belgian duo Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys. Beyond the wit of the title, I don't understand the overall piece. Perhaps here again, a dedicated explanation would have been a good idea

 

At the end, I buy the catalogue. Funny, one of the authors is Marie Darrieussecq... Again, no comment

 

All in all, was really worth seeing, mainly for the video by Bourouissa, the pensioners' home by Yuan and Yu and the discovery of Raphaelle Ricol. One big regret is about the curation, as often: not enough explanations on the pieces themselves. And as everyone knows, contemporary art has at least three levels of comprehension: first, the aesthetic one - less obvious in most videos or the most innovative pieces; second, the do-I-understand-what-the-artist-means one; and third, the do-I-agree-with-the-artist's-point-of-view one? I am afraid, I only went one and a half level down on average here. But I don’t feel I have been taken for a ride

 

 

A triple tour

Oeuvres de la Collection Pinault

La Conciergerie, Paris

Finished

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Happy Birthday Mr Perrotin, and well done (Tri Postal, Lille, France)

Happy Birthday Mr Perrotin, and well done (Tri Postal, Lille, France) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Lille is not far from Paris. It is even closer than Brussels is. One hour et des poussieres after having painfully boarded a TGV that had to be replaced because it was broken and as a result left 20 minutes late, I arrive at Lille Tri Postal 3000. I don't know what Tri Postal is, or rather I did not know until the Galieristissime decided to instal his 25th birthday there. Why so far from Paris? Or so close? It was ballsy

 

Before the show, one is greeted by some doughnut scent as one exits the Lille train station. Feels like passing by the back door of Harrods. And the delightful smile of the wardrobe clerk. "Salut ma beauté”, her colleague shouts. Hum... Not quite

 

Exhibition greeting is provided by Scandi-duo Elmgreen & Dragset. After having ridiculed Wellington on Trafalgar Square, and subsequently sold it at the Frieze this year for one million something, they install Irina (pictured) opposite a Phantom covered with tar and feathers. Disgrace, they call it. Amusing to have two opposite symbols of wealth starting what promises to be one of the largest examples of a passion for rich people (read, contemporary art)

 

Bernard Frize (not Frieze...) sets up a dialogue with Jean-Michel Othoniel in the first large room. I like the idea of dedicating large rooms to major artists - even if it does not really tell a message. Unfortunately, this will not be the case throughout the show. One could also regret that some of the more inventive works by Othoniel (the boat he found in Marseilles, the Chinese calculator, etc) are not there. But let's move on

 

Another room, another dialogue: Paola Pivi's animals respond to the nude and young bodies of Ryan McGinley. Not much of McGinley for now, which has been so ubiquitous in every fair last year

 

In the same room, not sure why, the founding act of the Perrotin-Calle cooperation: the two tailings, twenty years apart, exposed on the walls a la maniere de Sophie Calle. By Sophie Calle. The style of the detectives, although from the same agency (the famous Duluc), has evolved between 1981 and 2001. But I am preoccupied elsewhere. I remember my two brief encounters with the artist. And my unusual shyness when I came to speak to her during a break she was taking in Avignon a couple of years ago from reading her mother's carnets. It is difficult to convey wittily one's admiration for a creative soul in a 90 second punch line. I think I failed. Admired artists should never be spoken to briefly. They should not be spoken to at all, or invited in for a long lunch

 

In the corner, Cattelan's INRI horse is still lying. Not his best piece

 

Somehow, Guy Limone's rosy magazine tapestry reminds me of the staircase of the MAMCO in Geneva

 

1st floor, room 5. All dedicated to JR. Massively innovative artist, but here also one regrets that the many pieces exhibited here do not convey fully this originality - at least to the neophyte. I remember one piece, in a friend's dining room, which was a lot better. Not a photo, or a photo on several pieces of woods. In the contiguous room, JR's film, Women are heroes takes us up to the next level. It gives the viewer the impression to touch the favellas the same way seeing people assume blind people need to touch the world around them to move swiftly: without discontinuity. I leave the room as the famous image of the train with eyes shows on the screen. Big success in the limited audience. Well deserved

 

Next, Pieter Vermeersch and his pigments. Interesting on full plain walls, but I prefer his paintings. People around me don’t get it. Their loss

 

Room 7 is messy and does not, in my view, pay enough tribute to Parreno, Eric Duyckaerts (one of my favourites, but I did not know he was - still - with Perrotin) or Maiko Mori. Special mention to the video by Yeondoo Jung, animated version of Laurie Simmons' dolls and Casebere's Prisoner-like villages

 

Then the two enfants cheris: Murakami and Hirst. The Japanese guru pulls a Jeff Koons with a balloon, but unlike Koons, it is really inflatable plastic. The series of Jellyfish Eyes (Tatsuya, Saki and Max&Shimon) is pleasant. The room dedicated to Hirst is a good representation of almost all his series: splash painting, dot painting, a pharmacy, fish in formaldehyde, everything is in there. Even the When logics die series(1991-99) is quite witty, and would gain to be exhibited more often

 

Room 10: Germaine Richier (the only one that does not have a wall explanation of her work and who she is) dialogues with Claude Rutault. I am progressively getting to understand Rutault, but our initial encounter was not spectacular. I think he should be considered a method more than anything else

 

Room 11 is again a patchwork. Andre (one of the few people, perhaps with actress-turned-director Zabou, to be better recognised by their first name alone) is showing off a candycrush-styled Baron. Mr's piece reminds me of 1980s cartoon Candy (again...), after a meeting with Murakami. Chiho Aoshima comes also from Murakami's studio and could be the hyphen between the Japanese master and a Dali-esque vision of the world

 

One floor up. Will Perrotin do as Pinault once did (still does?) in Venice, ie showing more minor artists as we go up in floors? It does not seem to be the case. Firman shows off his elephant, only held by his trump. Hernan Bas, one of the latest to have joined the stable of Perrotin's proteges, is on the opposite wall - back to painting for the art world, Bas is spot on in this trend, which has been widely exhibited last year. Farhad Moshiri still write with knives. Esteve, Hildebrandt, Zimmerman, Day Jackson (who would also have deserved more space) are jammed in the next room

 

Superstars of the Perrotin stables, Creten, Trouvé and Veilhan, each of them deserves their own room, and get it, Veilhan with a very interesting table full of representations of architects in various scales and various materials (wood, gold, silver, ebony, bronze etc)

 

The last section shows brilliant films by Ivan Argote and Jesper Just, and surprising pieces by Klara Kristalova - I love the Fish Market, all in deep dark rooms, accentuating the dramatic effect of the pieces

 

Ca y est, after more than two hours, it is sadly over. And I wish it continues up on a third floor

 

All in all, a very mainstream but high quality contemporary exhibition. But hold on a second, why is it mainstream? Would that not be because Perrotin has been promoting his artists really well. So well that they have become the most famous amongst contemporary artists. Happy Birthday, Mr Perrotin. And well done

 

 

Happy Birthday Mr Perrotin

Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin 25th birthday

Tri postal Lille, next to Lille-Europe or Lille-Flanders train station

Until 12 January 2014. Rush....

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La semaine derniere (week of 11 Nov 13)

La semaine derniere (week of 11 Nov 13) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it
J'ai aimé: - Jonathan Adler (pictured), on Sloane Avenue, London - for some reason I had missed the opening of this shop 2 years ago. A lot more spacious than the one on Greenwich Avenue, and packed with even more stuff, from chic laquee bathroom gear in pop colours to psychadelic rugs and great dinner presents - Santo - very North of Notting Hill my friend said, who invited me there. Is it the new NoHo? I dont know but clearly it could be the new place to be. Ceviches to die for, incredible tacos, profusion of pork belly marinated in orange and lamb cooked i dont know how, this is far from where I live but as Mr Gault and Millaut would say, clearly merite le detour - Paul McCartney's new album, very topically titled "New". It is Paul's sixteenth album, and it gathered 4 producers, including DJ Mark Ronson and Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Early successes include New, and Queenie Eye, the video of which is packed with Paul's good friends, such as Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Jude Law or Meryl Streep. Very entertaning, very catchy - Top of the Lake, a new TV series by Jane Campion. The atmosphere is vaguely reminiscent of last year's Les Revenants produced by Canal+ - probably because in both, a lake is one of the main characters - but New Zealander landscapes filmed by Campion, of The Piano fame, are gorgeously superb. The intrigue is also quite catchy: a 12-year old Australo-Thai disappears, after having confessed she is pregnant. And Elisabeth Moss - the awkward secretary in Mad Men - is a lost detective from Sydney in charge of finding her (am no spoiler, this is all in the first episode) - Cameron Diaz - because she is Cameron Diaz (@CameronDiaz) - and Bob Mankoff (@BobMankoff) - the New Yorker cartoonist - joining Twitter  Je n'ai pas aimé:  - Vodafone customer service: have got two phone lines and an iPad with them and am a business customer. And despite that I need to wait at least half an hour to check when my contracts are up for renewal. Come on, Vodafone, lets be serious #KingsRoad  - Harrods - why on earth do they say it is open until 8pm on Saturdays if the gift-wrapping people leave at 7? #laziness  Je n'ai pas tranche sur:  - the Paris Photo VIP lounge: why so few tables and so much empty space? Good point for the inventive salads though: lentils with foie gras, fenel and watercress with feta, orange and grefeuit navels
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La semaine derniere (week 35)

La semaine derniere (week 35) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

 

- Home by SFR: burglars and untidy (or dishonest?) maids, behave, here comes Home by SFR. Mais qu'est ce que c'est? Un systeme d'alarme completement DIY, et beaucoup plus puissant que n'importe quel systeme de ma connaissance. Tout est simple, vraiment simple, avec Home by SFR, et cela vient de quelqu'un qui a mis le feu a son appartement la derniere fois qu'il a change une ampoule (moi...). On commande sur Internet (http://www.sfr.fr/accessoires/innovation/home-by-sfr.html), on recoit une boite une semaine plus tard. L'installation est hyper claire: on enregistre le numero de la centrale sur un site dedie, on la raccorde sur son Wi-Fi (mais il y a une cle 3G a l'interieur pour contrer les mauvaises gens qui voudraient vous cambrioler en coupant votre Wi-Fi), on rattache autant de cameras, de detecteurs de mouvement / d'ouverture / de fumee, de sirenes ou de telecommandes d'alarme que l'on veut (simple raccordement en mettant une pile, vous y croyez?) et on les fixe aux endroits strategiques de la maison avec des coussinets double face. Pas de perceuse, pas de trous. Et on peut tranquillement observer son entree, sa salle de bains (pas recommande...) ou son salon depuis son lieu de vacances ou son bureau. Une alerte est envoyee sur l'app Home by SFR et optionnellement un SMS sur votre portable des qu'un des detecteurs actives est sollicite. Mega simple, mega efficace, mega tranquilisant. Bravo SFR!

 

- La Voile Blanche, the top floor restaurant of Pompidou Metz museum: nice padrone di casa, eager to give out his mobile number to facilitate next time booking, decent cuisine even if a bit too oily, stunning terrace, what's not to like in this good alternative to provincial invigorating cuisine? (http://www.centrepompidou-metz.fr/fr/node/266)

 

- Social Eating House, 58 Poland (not Pollen) Street, London - casual offshoot of Pollen Street Social located in nearby Soho, this is a nice addition to the Soho restaurant scene, especially when one does not want to have the lengthy type of dinner of Dean Street Townhouse (otherwise delicious). Try the mushrooms on toast, a delight (www.littlesocial.co.uk)

 

- las Chicas, new chich concept store in Tangiers - in an old family house, Ayda and her two accomplice have created a Moroccan Colette, at the entrance of Tangiers' casbah. If you are after a chich Moroccan style outfit (Kenza Melehi, Said Mahrouf, Amine Bendriouch), some nice accessories (Andy Wahloo, Lup31 or Rock Da Casbah), or simply want to have a tea or breakfast, stop by Ayda and friends. Welcome also are the decoration pieces (carpet, painting, lighting) gathered around the world by Ayda's informants. No website yet but stop by at Las Chicas de Tanger, 52 rue Kacem Guenoun, Tanger, +212 539 374 510

 

- Jimmy Fallon re-interpretation of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines - no need to describe, just watch on YouTube (keywords: Jimmy Fallon, Blurred Lines)

 

- le Petit Marius - again a small offshoot, that of Marius et Jeanette, avenue George V in Paris. Not much to say apart from a nice fish menu, delivered quickly, of good quality, and an impressive crowd: when I was there last week, I rubbed shoulders with the most upcoming French fashion designer, the well known PR of an old fashion designer, and a couple of star bankers. What else?

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

 

- Air France's one row business classes: not only you get the 3-year old on row two behing you kicking in your seat, but you also get to hear all the fascinating conversation of the crew, that has to shout to cover the aircraft natural noise. Nice anecdote on a flight to Barcelona last week. Me to the purser: "This is a very noisy plane". The purser, clueless, to me: "Yes Sir, we are preparing the cabin for landing". Me: "I am talking about your conversation for the whole flight, on a 7am flight, when I would like to sleep". Him: "Sorry that we exist" (difficult to translate in English as it is such a poor comment). Incroyable, non? What will airlines do when they have driven the few people who still travel business on short-haul away from paying business prices for less than two-hour flights?

 

 

Je veux essayer:

- the Stutterheim raincoats (pictured) - a new, high-end brand of raincoats created by Alexander Stutterheim from Sweden, allegedly created from an old piece of his grandfather's raincoat found in his attic. Made in Arholma, which is also the name of one of the models, it comes in many bright colours. A good alternative to your tired Burberry trench coat? (www.stutterheim.com)

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Etoiles, pliages et gribouillages (Hantai, Centre Pompidou, Paris)

Etoiles, pliages et gribouillages (Hantai, Centre Pompidou, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I have decided to check whether the Paris version of the Lichtenstein exhibition is so much better than the London one (that took place some time ago at the Tate Modern - see this blog for review). And perhaps to patch things up with Simon Hantai, Hungarian-born, French-naturalised painter that travelled to Italy by foot, and taught the world how to fold a sheet

 

There is a queue even for members. Good start, especially under the rain. Gave me the motivation to send a tweet - let's see if I get an answer. Inside, the loudspeaker beams messages trying to discourage people to go for Lichtenstein. 45 minutes of additional queue... And zip for Hantai. Even beyond death, unequality continues...

 

Here we are. Gallery 1. Simon Hantai. The guys checking tickets for the third time are discussing how to change the world in a left-wing movement. Tout un programme!

 

For those who don't know Hantai, he is the XXth century painter who has painted the highest number of pieces looking awfully similar to a Rorschach test. But the exhibit starts with a radically different piece: Peinture, painted in 1959 ie one year exactly before he starts his folding technique. It looks like a representation of hell by Jerome Bosch from the far. Or a miniaturised photo of Angelo Musco. There is also some Jan Fabre in Hantai's first works (in the early 50s). And more naturally some Tanguy, Dali, and other surrealist fellows. Some of the paintings would actually have had some relevance at last year's La Maison Rouge "Sous influence" exhibition...

 

I have to say that I did not know this period's paintings - and I like them very much. Colourful, detailed, mixing sometimes media (some of them have animals' skulls or bones planted in them), they are very interesting. They also help understand clearly how Hantai went from his artistic roots (Budapest painting school, and slightly later, surrealist painting) to the famous pliages. I have here to pay tribute to the curator: the chronological presentation of the works is brilliant - and didactically clear, which is good for a painter that had not been exhibited in Paris for fourty years. The sobriety of some of the pieces (eg Souvenir de l'avenir, 1957) is aesthetically impressive

 

The "petites touches" - small strokes, that represents more or less the liaison between the gestual painting of the early 50s and the folding technique of post 1960 - is incredibly powerful. It almost created a two-tier reading of the works, one from the far (ie a cross or some reflection in the water, in A Galla Placidia, pictured, one of his most well know works, 1958-59), and one from closer (the famous petites touches)

 

And here comes the foldings. Mariales, first, in four series (a, b, c and d – no more imagination for the titles once he thought about folding the canvasses) where the whole canvas is painted, sometimes with small white areas in the middle. Catamurons then, where a blue area is placed at the centre of an otherwise white canvas, supposedly inspired by a blue beach towel drying on a door close to a white wall in a house called Catamurons, rented by Hantai for his family. And the series of the panses, figuring really the rumen of an animal, which could have inspired René to imagine the most bizarre shapes

 

Then, in 1967, the Hantai family moves to Meun near Paris. And Hantai produces the series of Meuns. I admire this simple psychological disposition... The Meuns seem to breathe a bit more than the previous series. Colours get a bit more complicated, but also a bit more dull. The curator compares them to Matisse's collages, but I disagree. Have a look, and you tell me. For me, the interest that I find in Hantai works seems inversely proportionate to the surface of white that seems to invade his canvasses in the late 60s. A matter of taste

 

The 70s continue the trend with the Etudes, monochromatic pieces with always more non-painted inside, but demonstrating more minutiae than the Meuns. And the Blancs, with more colours. And always more whites

 

The exhibition ends with the Tabulas, a series that suddenly reminds me of the One Thousand Windows on the World by Gary Hume. The folding is different this time, and produces regular frames on the canvas, with Hantai's self-famous star-spray effect between the various rectangles. Again, and still, I am missing the middle-aged Hantai

 

In the middle of this original exhibition, it all came back to me: my first encounter with Hantai was through one of his works where I believe he used a four-colour biro, like children have at school, and wrote/drew simultaneously with the four colours. I cannot remember where I saw it, nor was I able to find this work in this exhibition. But Ecriture rose (1958-59) or Peinture (1959), or any of the petites touches-ecritures pieces definitely reminded me of it. Mr Hantai, I liked you, until you turned 38. I liked the depth of your work. And I have liked you less since, as your work, for interesting though it has been since you invented pliages, has become more unidimensional, physically and metaphorically. But Paris was wrong to ignore you for fourty years, so people of Paris, rush to Centre Pompidou, and pay tribute to Sir Simon. You have one week left

 

 

Simon Hantai

Centre Pompidou

Rue Beaubourg, Paris 3e, France

Until 2 September 2013

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La semaine derniere (week 32)

La semaine derniere (week 32) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

 

- Le Ciro's - from its days when it was the pretentious and not so good restaurant in Deauville, the Ciro's has grown into one of the best places to have lunch or dinner on the Normandy coast, and clearly on the Deauville boardwalk, the famous Planches de Deauville. Perfect sole, delicious salmon starter, mouthwatering puddings for those who like them, and excellent service (Le Ciro's, boulevard de la Mer, 14800 Deauville, +33 231 14 31 31, or go through the concierge at Normandy or Royal to book)

 

- Qui plume la lune - the best newcomer (or not so new anymore) on the Parisian food scene in years. Everything is great about this Bastille tucked away outpost, from the smile of the owner to cuisine of the chef (who I believe is also an owner). Named after an 80s film with Jean-Pierre Darroussin of Mes Meilleurs Copains fame (Y'a pas l'feu au lac, on va s'faire un super cafe...), this Flintstone-decorated place has a simple principle: guests do not chose what they want to eat, but share their dietary requirements and the number of dishes they want (2, 4 or 5). Then the chef adapts, feeding you with always the same quantity of food (i.e. the size of the dishes decreases as the number of courses increases). Expect a festival: perfect nera di sepia risotto, warm foie gras, and amazing fish, cheese to die for, even the puddings (which I do not normally like) are worth it. And if something is missing, not on the menu or you want to taste a new wine, just ask, the owner is there, with smart ideas and good advice - and a smile. To the point one believes we are not in Paris anymore...

 

- the appearance of trays on the Eurostar luggage belts for a couple of months now - I did not want to write about it before, as I was worried this would disappear, as all the good ideas usually do, but this avoids having to take one's jacket to the laundry each time one commutes between Paris and London. After 25 years of existence, great innovation!

 

- that Air France boarding passes now work with Passbook. SO CONVENIENT, well done! If Aegean - great airline btw - could do it, Air France could as well, and did it. For those who don't know how it works, when you check in online on your iPhone (do it on the Air France app, not on the site), you get asked "Save to Passbook". Press on it, and your boarding pass pops into the Passbook app, which is built in with iOS 6. All your passes in one place, and your iPhone gets a bit more tidy

 

- Manchester - first time in Manchester this week, and clearly a nice beautiful provincial Britland city. Stay at Radisson Blu, convenient, mega-nice staff, great spa and gym and very central, if not super charming. One point of caution for fast lane travelers: the Manchester airport lounge operates "a strict three-hour policy. Even if your flight is late, you will be required to vacate the premises after three hours". Ah, le charme discret de la provinciale bourgeoisie...

 

- Bright lights, big city by Jay McInerney. Everyone knows, or should know, McInerney. At least every fan of Scott Fitzgerald, Brett Easton Ellis and other writers who have made a name in describing wittily the f***ed up way of life, East Coast or West Coast, of the American jeunesse doree. The plot is simple: a quite well-born fils de famille gets an inferior job at a good newspaper and marries an aspiring model. And from there on, everything gets in shambles... Quick beach reading

 

- Vanity Fair, French version. I had not bought the first issue, but the second one is remarkable. Lots of articles with content, Pistorius, Hepburn, Saint-Laurent, Galliano, even if the topics are not always unheard of, the wealth of details in the content deserves tribute

 

- the rejig of Daft Punk's Get lucky by Stephen Colbert - initially a simple story: Daft Punk cancelled on Colbert (whose Colbert Report is broadcast on Comedy Central) on the back of their exclusivity contract with MTV. So Colbert called upon his address book to produce a "slightly amended" version of Get Lucky. When one's friends are call Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Mel B or Hugh Laurie, this proves even better than the original one. Watch on YouTube

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

 

- Monsieur Bleu - yes, everyone has been talking about it for weeks, months even. Yes, it was expected to display the same cocktail of babes, unbearable waitresses, standardised food and power people than any new high profile restaurant opening in Paris (the previous one with so much hype having probably been the Ralph's). Yes, the place is wonderful and the terrace is breathtaking, even though some are disappointed to face a busy road. I so wanted it to be a success that I went multiple times. Each time: a total fight to book a table (no phone bookings apparently possible, closed for 2 weeks in August and do not take September bookings before the break), never a smile at the entrance and they manage to fatify (yes, fatify), even the healthiest dishes (why the heck add cream on seabass carpaccio). It is a shame. I will continue to go, as I want it to succeed but please, Monsieur Bleu, put a smile on the hostess face and teach her the rudiments of politeness, take out the cream and improve your booking system. Merci!

 

- the new HSBC retail banking app - the UK one works fine-ish, but the new French one is an absolute nightmare of complexity and failure. Complexity, because one needs at least a PhD in IT to be able to use it (it is so complex that explaining the mere complexity of it is too complex...). Failure because the iPhone app (not the iPad one so far) sometimes blocks itself (it gets Doctor Watsoned, for those old and geek enough to understand the joke) and never comes back. You then have to desinstall it, and reinstall it. I can cope, but what about my 90 year old grandmother?

 

 

Je n'ai pas tranche sur:

 

- Grille - THE place to have lunch these days in Paris. Think about it: a kebab place in the heart of uber-trendy Paris 2nd borough, with veal by Hugo Desnoyers, spelt bread, all of this dressed with white horseradish mixed with mint and coriander. Very good, indeed, but probably not to justify the hour of queueing that seems to be the norm these days. And the lack of tables (2 inside, 2 outside) means that it rules itself out from being used by people who do not work or lunch in the immediate surrounding. Some progress to make, but a welcome addition to the fast yet high-quality lunch (15, rue Saint-Augustin Paris 2e)

 

 

Je veux essayer:

 

- the Cardok parking system: the picture is self-explanatory. You dig into the ground and once your car is on the Cardok place, it goes deep in the ground, freeing up a nice garden above your garage. See the photo...

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La semaine dernière (week 30)

La semaine dernière (week 30) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

 

- Kinsterna Hotel and Spa, in Monemvassia, Greece - This place is an absolute nightmare to get to: either 5 hours of OK road from Athens, or 3 incredibly tortuous hours from Kalamata, a small military airport in the South of Peloponnesos with only 4 flights departing per week. But once one has managed to reach this place, it is magical. Entirely built around a water cisterna (Kinsterna?), the hotel has a wonderful and gigantic L-shaped pool (25 m long, rare for a holiday resort, pictured). Staff is adorable and mega-helpful, if not mega-trained, food is excellent, organic and fresh, and the belly of the cocktail bartender is a tribute to his mixing skills. Prefer a Kinsterna suite, as these have magnificent views (see photo) and often a balcony. And visit the nearby citadel. Worth it, even for 3-4 days

 

- the Patio in the Bar Les Heures, in the recently renovated Hotel Prince de Galles. For years, I have passed by Prince de Galles, pitying silently its owners because of the desertion that let this ancient glory empty when compared to its bling Four Seasons neighbour. It is now time for payback. Renovated in the Art Deco spirit that made the glory of this old place, but not only, Prince de Galles nouvelle formule has a delightful patio which can serve either the casual but delicious food from Bar les Heures (taste their incredible tomato and burrata plate, or the squid and prawn salad) or the rather sophisticated menu from the fine-dining place that occupies another side of the square-shaped patio and is run by the recent winner of some cuisine TV show. Inside also, Les Heures is beautiful and original, making it a good place for winter days too. Mega-friendly staff - again, probably in training - but a bad point for the wine lists: that of the bar has 5 bottles of red, out of which 2 (the most interesting ones) were missing, and that of the gastro does not have some of those little trouvailles, that the unskilled bling spender does not notice, but that connoisseurs cherish, especially at the time of the bill. Made the comment to the head sommelier, lets see if he takes it onboard...

 

- FlyNiki - God, I was not looking forward to this 5-hour trip on FlyNiki, with a connection in Vienna, an airport I do not know mega-well. Result: It was the most efficient trip and the best price-quality balance I have had in a long time. Departure and landing on time, arrival gate in Vienna right next to the departing gate (had a 35-minute connection time, so came quite handy), mega-friendly staff (seems thanks God to be a recurring theme this week, for a change) and clean aircraft. For less than 150 euros. And none of the speedy boarding or group boarding shit that some others give you. Only bad point: there is a "gastro" menu (hear not sandwich) on board, but one cannot order it, it has to be pre-ordered (stock-killing exercise) - but not too bad, and overall excellent experience. All of this with the AirBerlin FFP. So I say, Fly Niki (Lauda), Fly

 

- Persons of Interest - this is a bizarre TV show, that I did not want to watch for a while. The pitch is confusing: a limping billionaire has built a machine that spits social security numbers meant to reveal the identity of future victims of violent crimes. Because the billionaire (Finch) is not physically in good shape, he has recruited (episode 1) an ex-military passing as dead to act and prevent these crimes. Sort of contemporary Cyrano de Bergerac where Christian would be rich and smart and Cyrano strong and military-trained. I realise no one at this point feels like starting season 1. And still, I would recommend it as half-way through the first season, each individual story is well crafted and quite better than the CSI manufacture or its doppelgangers. And of course, there is an element of continuation as, through the usage of rather confusing flashbacks, one learns at each episode how Finch has become a billionaire, or a cripple, and how Reese (Cyrano) was lost for any cause when he was spotted by Finch. At the time of Snowden, Manning and other Wikileaks, this show appears spot on dans l'air du temps

 

- L'Art d'etre pauvre, de Boni de Castellane - Dans la France de la fin du XIXe et celle du debut du XXe siecle, la vie de Boniface de Castellane, rejeton des plus illustres et anciennes familles francaises, qui ne manque pas de grand chose au depart mais decouvre les joies d'une vie dispendieuse a l'exces en epousant Anna Gould. Construction du Palais Rose - jamais fini et demoli depuis longtemps -, de deux yachts, voyages interminables, rencontres spectaculaires, ce roman tres autobiographique est avant tout un formidable plaidoyer pour l'education. On y apprend comment Boni, homme poilitique par oisivete, jamais ne se laissera demonter par l'adversite - le divorce, la ruine, le remariage de sa femme avec son cousin, l'annulation de deux de ses elections - et que son education le tirera toujours de ses aventures, avec panache et elegance. A mediter en ces temps contraries

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

 

- My Flat in Paris - there are plenty of cases when one would need a short let in Paris: flat refurbishment, long-term (weeks or months) trip, simple willingness to try a new area. This is what My Flat in Paris is about. Flat owners, registering guarantees you a nice revenue top-up - prices for short-term are usually higher than long-term renting, around 100 euros per night for a one-bedroom in the West of Paris; renters, you expect a cheaper solution than the hotel, and above all hassle-free. My experience with My Flat in Paris was clearly not hassle-free: moved into a disgusting flat (some knives still had food remains from the previous tenants...), did not have hot water for three days, twice, had to deal with people who were more preoccupied to get my cheque than to ensure my well-being. This was a sad experience, and clearly one I would not renew nor recommend

 

- le limogeage de Jean-Louis Martinelli aux Amandiers de Nanterre - largement commente par la recente sortie de Frederic Mitterrand, qui cherchait toujours la redemption pour le non-renouvellement, stupidissime, d'Olivier Py a l'Odeon. Si tout le monde avait - a raison - critique Mitterrand lorsqu'il avait renvoye Py, pourquoi faire de meme avec un autre excellent directeur de theatre. Ces polemiques, ces remplacements, ces joutes dans la presse alors qu'il y a bien d'autres choses a faire, m'ennuient, et sont mauvaises pour le theatre 

 

 

Je n'ai pas tranche sur:

- Vicomte A trousers - beautiful, colourful but why do they split the first time you put them on? Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and try out another model

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Idiots que nous sommes, d'y etre alles (Idiot, de Vincent Macaigne - Theatre de la Ville, Paris)

Idiots que nous sommes, d'y etre alles (Idiot, de Vincent Macaigne - Theatre de la Ville, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Je confesse, pas tellement a regrets, que je ne connaissais pas le theatre de Vincent Macaigne, egerie depuis quelques annees du cinema independant francais, ayant commence son parcours au theatre. J'etais donc dans un etat de surexcitation absolu d'aller, qui plus est au merveilleux Theatre de la Ville, voir la reprise de son spectacle fondateur de 2009: Idiot! parce que nous aurions du nous aimer

La specialite de Macaigne au cinema est qu'il ne se passe pas grand chose dans ses films; il participe a l'effort de filmer la vie ordinaire (voir par exemple le tres commente La Bataille de Solferino, racontant les affres d'un couple separe pour la garde des deux enfants, le jour de l'election presidentielle, alors que la mere, journaliste, doit partir couvrir le siege du parti socialiste)

A peine arrive vers le theatre de la Ville (ex-Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, rebaptise pendant la guerre...), l'on voit de grandes affiches (Plakat, serait plus approprie) avec des croix noires. La musique, pas mal du tout d'ailleurs, est omnipresente. Macaigne et un des comediens se tiennent sur le petit balcon donnant place du Chatelet gueulant on-ne-sait-quoi dans un megaphone. On pense a une manifestation d'intermittents. Ce n'est que le debut de la piece. Un debut tres plaisant, il faut l'admettre

A l'interieur, la zouaverie se prolonge. Le porte-voix nous enjoint de rentrer dans la salle en sautant. Les professeurs a la retraite se regardent genes - vont-ils perdre leur dignite au siege du theatre public? Nous nous executons de bonne grace

Dans la salle, on nous offre des bieres. Certains assoiffes en redemandent, d'autres se font scotcher sur la scene, en deux groupes. Peu a peu apparait un homme avec un pistolet sur la tempe. Est-ce l'Idiot qui aurait deja decide d'en finir? Ma voisine et moi mesurons la difference avec, par exemple, un spectacle de Regy. Il devient deja clair lequel des deux nous allons preferer, meme si nous gardons l'esprit ouvert

La piece se met en branle progressivement. Et la, les ressorts du theatre a la Macaigne apparaissent: un troupe beuglante - Macaigne explique que l'on crie beaucoup dans l'Idiot, soit... - une grossierete omnipresente, une agitation permanente qui ne va pas plus loin que l'agitation. Au bout de 20 minutes, un comedien apparait nu comme un ver sur scene. Puis en costume de lapin (oui, oui vous lisez bien). Puis nu encore. Il y a du sang qui gicle, une soiree mousse, de la biere jetee, etc. Tant et si bien que les deux premiers rangs doivent etre abrites sous un gigantesque plastique

Et le Prince dans tout ca? Malgre l'adaptation burlesque (mais du mauvais cote du burlesque), on suit quasiment a la lettre le deroule du chef-d'oeuvre de Dostoievski. Surprenant cela aussi, car on aurait pu s'attendre a un peu plus d'originalite. Quant au prince Mychkine, il apparait en bebe cadum a couches ecossaises, parlant avec l'accent belge... No comment

La troupe serait sans doute excellente dans un autre contexte - mention speciale a l'excellente Pauline Lorillard alias Aglaia, mais l'adaptation ne rend justice ni a l'Idiot, ni a la troupe, ni aux indeniables qualites creatrices de Macaigne

Au bout d'une heure et trente minutes interminables, l'entracte sonne enfin. Nous en profitons pour partir, non sans avoir pris le papier que les employes du theatre nous tendent, cense expliquer ce qui s'est passe dans l'histoire entre la premiere et la deuxieme moitie du spectacle. Je constate que ma voisine s'en va aussi. C'etait une jeune dame bon genre ayant emmene son fils de 10 ans, et qui avant passe la plus grande partie de la piece a lui cacher les yeux... 

Sur le chemin du retour, je ne peux pas m'empecher de rapprocher ce spectacle troupier d'un autre spectacle de ce debut d'annee si riche, vu celui-ci a la Colline: l'excellent Capital et son singe, de Sylvain Creuzevault et sa troupe. Meme aspect desorganise, meme brouhaha, meme improvisation, meme confrontation avec une oeuvre majeure. Mais l'un fonctionne merveilleusement bien. Et l'autre pas. Va comprendre...


Idiot! parce que nous aurions du nous aimer
de Vincent Macaigne
d'apres l'Idiot de Dostoievski
Theatre de la Ville jusqu'au 12 octobre
Reprise au Theatre des Amandiers (Nanterre) du 4 au 14 novembre

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La semaine derniere (week of 22 Sept 2014)

La semaine derniere (week of 22 Sept 2014) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:
- Interieur (pictured), by Maurice Maeterlinck, directed by Claude Regy, with the troupe of the Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre. Wait a minute. Claude Regy, almost 90 years old, a French theatre monument, pope of minimalism, director of Handke, Tchekov or Nathalie Sarraute. Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian literature Nobel Prize, half aristocrate de salon, half grand bourgeois, but a socialist, playwright, poet, having written a few marionettes plays (amongst which Interieur). And a Japanese troupe. And yes, it works absolutely brilliantly, which is not so surprising if you think about it. The plot is simple: two people, outside a house, discuss on the best way to announce a family, inside (a l'“Interieur”), the death of one of their daughters. But Regy makes it a complete miracle. Overall speed divided by 10 (as usual with Regy), always present play of lights, this performance fits so well with Japanese theatre and is so soothing that you can get in with the stress of your day, you get out as light as a feather. Well done, Mr Regy, chapeau bas (was performed at the Japanese cultural centre in Paris, but is now over unfortunately)

- Crossing lines, a European TV crime series, the plot of which is quite original: a team of European experts originating from different countries, each with a specialty, congregate in The Hague to solve misteries spanning over several European countries. First season started epicly, with interesting crimes to solve, and a heavy continuous plot across the whole series. The second series, broadcasted currently in France, is not as good, which is often the case. But overall good quality, good direction, and good cast, led by famous Donald Sutherland and French national nimble glory Marc Lavoine

- Westwing (www.westwing.fr/es/de etc) - for me the best decoration and home interior web site. Efficient, very well stocked, it shows you every day a number of appealing objects and pieces of furniture. Very easy to use, simple and timely delivery. No worries if you have missed something you like, it usually comes back within a month or so. Cherry on the cake, they sometimes sell champagne too!

- On a sauve le monde, de Dominique Fernandez, de l’Académie Francaise. Fernandez profite du récit de sa jeunesse et de la découverte de son homosexualité pour nous plonger de manière passionnante dans l’exégèse de Poussin et de la peinture classique, ainsi que dans les affres de la montee en puissance de Mussolini dans l’Italie fasciste d’avant-guerre. Je pensais que le livre, épais, me tomberait des mains. Je l’ai lu en une semaine. Extremement bien écrit - what did you expect? - férocement documente, spirituel, il contient aussi une intrigue historique qui, bien que romancee, augmente encore l’intérêt pour ce merveilleux ouvrage


Je n’ai pas aime:
- the Tate Britain Turner exhibition - difficult to have step a foot in London in the last century without being drown under Turner paintings. This is probably the fifth or sixth exhibition on the UK domestic celeb in as many years. The angle here is new: Turner’s last years. Although it is difficult not to bow in front of his mastering of light and colours, this exhibition has bored me a little. And also would that not be a better way to show Turner’s late years, to compare his then production with his earlier one? (Tate Britain, London, until 25 January 2015)

- London city airport - the ex-London boutique airport started growing slightly out of control a while ago but although it is normal to get searched, and overall London City is still zillions of times more efficient than any other London or European airport (bar perhaps German or Swedish ones), can we pleeeeaaaase be searched by people who take at least one shower a day?

- SFR - est-ce moi, ou depuis trois ou quatre mois la qualité du réseau SFR a Paris a si-gni-fi-ca-ti-ve-ment baisse? Je dois maintenant ouvrir la fenêtre de mon bureau (en plein milieu du 8e!) pour espérer avoir du 2.5G, et le plus souvent, bien que 3G et toutes mes barres soient affiches, je ne recois meme pas mes appels. Mr SFR, il y a urgence...


Je n’ai pas tranche sur:
- Hospes de Las Casas del Rey de Baeza - the best hotel in Sevilla, a friend of mine, and great connoisseur of the city told me. My arrival was a disaster. Rain - no one at the door of the hotel to help my travel companion with her luggage. Check in - tow people, two rooms, 20 minutes, still have not understood why. Room (mine) - right on the patio (nice patio, but also the place where people have breakfast and coffee). To be perfectly honest, once the disastrous arrival was over, the hotel is good: quick breakfast service, nice setting in an old Sevillian palace, helpful info on how to move around in the maze of old Seville. I just wish someone mentioned to me there is a pool on the roof

- Il barbiere di Seviglia, by Rossini, in Paris Opera Bastille - imaginative direction and decor, loved the popolana atmosphere, and took onboard the intro note from the opera itself stating that Barbera (Almaviva) decided to sing although he was ill. But the overall performance of the singers was just above average, even the great Karine Deshayes seemed a bit below herself. Special mention to Cornelia Oncioiu, singing Rosina’s servant - the only one to have given the goosebumps

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Une reflexion sans concessions sur la famille - Cet Enfant, de Joel Pommerat (Bouffes du Nord, Paris)

Une reflexion sans concessions sur la famille - Cet Enfant, de Joel Pommerat (Bouffes du Nord, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

L'arrivee a pied aux Bouffes du Nord est peu plaisante dans les derniers metres. C'est l'endroit le plus rough du boulevard de la Chapelle. On se croirait presque a Chateau-Rouge, distante de quelques stations, sauf que la petite communaute assemblee sous le tram n'a pas l'air de sapeurs. On comprend bien pourquoi les Bouffes du Nord ont ete renommes rapidement apres la deuxieme guerre Theatre des Carrefours

Sur la place, le beau monde du theatre se presse. On voit des politiques nouvellement nommes, des directeurs artistiques. La foule multiple semble en adequation avec le lieu, superbe. Construit a la fin du XIXe siecle, entierement refait au debut du XXe, puis sacralise par la domination pendant pres de 40 ans de Peter Brook, on a peine a croire que ce theatre, parmi les plus beaux de Paris, ait vegete avant d'avoir trouve son grand homme

Et il en a trouve un autre en la personne de Joel Pommerat, qui presente ici son premier spectacle de l'annee, une recreation. Les lecteurs de cette tribune connaitront forcement mon admiration immense pour le grand Joel. Mais je ne connaissais pas ce spectacle, cree en 2006 a la demande de la Caisse d'Allocations Familiales du Calvados, pour produire un spectacle sur la parentalite a partir de propos recueillis par des familles de Caen. Une tentative de melange socio-culturel explique Pommerat dans la notice liminaire du livret distribue par les ouvreuses

Pommerat n'avait a l'epoque pas tenu compte des consignes initiales et a ecrit un spectacle sur les relations parents-enfants, sans tenir compte des propos rapportes par les familles normandes. Il a bien fait

La scene s'ouvre - ou plutot s'eclaire, comme toujours chez Pommerat, grace a la complicite de son double, Eric Soyer - sur une comedienne seule en scene dialoguant avec sa mere en voix off. On est tout de suite plonges dans l'univers de la compagnie Louis-Brouillard et de son mentor. Les sketches se succedent avec un rythme soutenu - entendez sketch au sens anglais du terme, on n'est pas chez Florence Foresti: une mere reproche a sa fille de n'etre pas "aimable", une fille confirme a son pere eberlue qu'elle ne serait pas triste de ne plus le voir, une mere castratrice menace son fils de 10 ans de se suicider si celui-ci part a l'ecole, un enfant de 15 ans insulte son pere mineur devant une assistante sociale. Les situations sont multiples et on reconnait la tout de suite la patte de Pommerat quand il decide de traiter un sujet

Les scenes les plus poignantes ont ete pour moi le monologue d'une junkie - merveilleuse Ruth Olaizola (pictured) avec son leger accent rendant le tout encore plus credible - sur son enfant a naitre, veritable escalade de violence, pessimiste a souhait, concluant a l'assassinat (virtuel ou non?) de la mere pour cause de non-reproduction des erreurs parentales. Le malaise est a son comble quand la meme junkie donne, quelques scenes plus loin, cet enfant en qui elle avait place tant d'espoirs, a un couple de voisins sans descendance

C'est bien du Pommerat donc, qui se saisit d'un theme, le disseque, l'eviscere, le coupe en morceaux jusqu'a en faire ressortir tous les points de vue, toutes les interpretations. C'est aussi du Pommerat par la production. On retrouve tous les elements constitutifs de son theatre: scene noire ebene, pas de decors, musique omnipresente, parfois tres forte - les gens derriere moi se sont eux-meme surpris a en discuter assez fort pendant une pause musicale, voix off, pas de costumes, ombres, lumieres. Un orchestre, pour une fois, est present sur scene, derriere un gigantesque papier calque, composant une delicieuse ombre chinoise inversee

La salle est hypnotisee - c'est difficile de savoir qui s'attendait a ce qu'il vient de voir. Je me suis un jour retrouve a cote d'un couple, a une reprise d'Au Monde, qui se jugeait spirituel - etant parfaitement etranger au monde symbolique de Pommerat - de commenter tout haut et de soupirer tres fort, pensant que "les gens de qualite" ne pouvaient que detester. Quelle ne fut pas ma surprise de retrouver ce couple de sans-gout au diner donne apres la representation pour Pommerat, avec sa troupe. Et faire toutes sortes de tortillements devant le grand homme. Heureusement, point de cretins comme cela hier soir. Une salle comblee. A raison

Deux actions s'imposent donc a la noble communaute de mes aimables lecteurs: 1) vous avez jusqu'au 27 septembre (fin de semaine prochaine) pour reserver Cet Enfant aux Bouffes du Nord. Il reste encore quelques places. Et 2) si vous avez aime, ou etes simplement curieux, courez a l'Odeon, plus tard cette annee, (re)voir la Reunification des Deux Corees (aux Ateliers Berthier), spectacle de production tres similaire sur l'amour (entendez - vivre une histoire d'amour heureux est aussi difficile que la reunification des deux Corees, d'ou le titre)

Mais il n'y a pas que Pommerat en ce debut d'annee merveilleux a Paris. Stay tuned for the next episode. Interieur, de Maeterlinck, mis en scene par Claude Regy. Quelle chance!

Cet Enfant, de Joel Pommerat avec la compagnie Louis-Brouillard
Theatre des Bouffes du Nord
Jusqu'au 27 septembre 2014

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Black, Brown & White Fascinating Limb's Theorem - William Forsythe, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris

Black, Brown & White Fascinating Limb's Theorem - William Forsythe, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

“C’est la rentree”, I was thinking, walking towards Theatre du Chatelet to attend the premiere of Forsythe’s Limb’s Theorem, and almost the premiere of the 2014 edition of Festival d’Automne. “Pas tout a fait”, a friend of mine – appearing suddenly next to me - answers, as if he was reading my mind. “Everyone was there for Pina Bausch on Tuesday”. I could not join so it is definitely my rentree

 

For those – sadly – unfamiliar with that aspect of Parisian cultural life, the Festival d’Automne is a multi-location Paris-based festival which, every year since 1972, gathers the quintessence of theatre, music, dance and even visual arts, and offers it to the general public as one package, running from September to the following January. Since 2012, it has decided to honour two great artists every year. This year, William Forsythe and Romeo Castellucci

 

We will come back later to the latter, but tonight, this is the rentree of the former, with its massively famous piece: Limb’s theorem. Le theoreme des Limbes, as it is commonly understood but I cannot help thinking there is a pun, well intended, on the double entendre of the word “limb” (un membre, for my French readers)

 

It starts discretely. Dark stage. One can notice – only if very focused – some bodies moving around to the far left of the stage. Some people continue to talk in the audience. The new Minister of Culture has not yet arrived, so our French always-on Minister of Culture – Jack Lang if you did not get the joke – is temping. The whole lefty cultural upper crust is here, this is definitely the place to be

 

As one manages to see more clearly what is on stage, the music gets louder, the movements get faster, the whole scenery gets more agitated. This is the word. Agitated. But this agitation, taking place in the shadow of a gigantic suspended partition which could easily pass as a photovoltaic panel, immediately makes a lot of sense

 

Thom Willens’ music is here of course. Meaningful in its own right, but incredibly relevant to Forsythe’s choregraphy. The light is an integral part of the performance too. It is dim to start with, and I spent the first ten minutes wondering when it will get switched on. It does, but progressively and without people noticing it, the stage is in semi-full light

 

The colours are pure black and white, and often only the shadows remain. Someone – making faces – is sitting near the panel, and turns it by a quarter of a circle every five minutes. This splits the stage – in which every little area, especially the border ones, is used – in two parallel worlds. The limbs and the rest of the world? But Dante had 7 different types of limbs... I would personally campaign for avoiding to search for any rationale interpretation. One should just get immersed into the magnificent baudelairian Correspondences of music, dance, light and colours that is developing in front of them

 

This ballet was created in 1990, I caught myself thinking. How contemporary – 21st century contemporary – was it in 1990! Massive! The stage again dives into dark. This is really an alternance de joie et de peines, as sung by Honore Bostel (reminiscent of so many good memories in our twenties). This could also be what is going on within Star Trek’s Enterprise when no one is looking

 

End of the first act

 

The second one (Enemy in the Figure) is even more a full Forsythe play as scenography is also Forsythe’s (whilst it is Michael Simon in the first and third acts). And it is even more brilliant. Colour is making an entry. Hum... Colour, say, white, which was clearly absent from the first act, all black. The choregraphy starts by what looks dangerously like what my personal trainer insisted I did last week: side plank, chair against the wall. Forsythe’s troupe does it without even thinking about it

 

The central panel has been replaced by what will be identified later as a wooden curve partition, lying on the floor, unlike in the first act. Looks like one of the shapes used by Germany-born artist Charlotte Posenenske in some of her late series

 

Costume diversity is provided by dots, ample shirts or trousers with fringes. The light becomes suddenly cold. Surgical. And then gets back to the shadow of black and white, forgetting brown behind. With the arrival of the brown colour, the music becomes slightly more Moroccan. The choregraphy as well

 

The stage looks definitely like a theatre stage during an Ostermeier-directed Ibsen play. Massively reminiscent of Ghosts (Gengangere in Norwegian) he directed in les Amandiers two years ago

 

And suddenly the white shapes disappear, as in a dream. The music fades away. End of the second act

 

I will not comment as much on the third act as I liked it less. From Star Trek, we have gone to Doctor Who. The panel turned partition seems now a piece of a telescope. Or a gigantic nutshell, quite aggressive against the 27-people strong troupe. A sail is oscillating in the background

 

The choregraphy is still awfully precise: movements and gestures seem kind of lifted in silence, and unvariably end on the right beat of percussions. What an ensemble, for a music and a choregraphy that are supposed to live their own lives...

 

Again, the troupe’s agitation seems to vanish progressively. Lines are forming. Some dancers disappear. Light also is disappearing. The curtain starts falling again. For the third time. This is the end?!? What? It only just started. 2 hours ago actually, but it definitely feels like it

 

If you don’t have your tickets already, this is definitely worth trying every (legal) trick to get some, as this show is only on for two more nights (Thursday 5 and Friday 6 September, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris)

 

Good luck. And if you fail, book your tickets to Lyon or Frankfurt, where Forsythe’s choregraphies are usually performed. And don’t forget: the Festival d’Automne still shows five pieces by Forsythe, especially the massive In the dark, somewhat elevated... Lots to think about

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Black, Brown & White Fascinating Limb's Theorem - William Forsythe, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris

Black, Brown & White Fascinating Limb's Theorem - William Forsythe, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

“C’est la rentree”, I was thinking, walking towards Theatre du Chatelet to attend the premiere of Forsythe’s Limb’s Theorem, and almost the premiere of the 2014 edition of Festival d’Automne. “Pas tout a fait”, a friend of mine – appearing suddenly next to me - answers, as if he was reading my mind. “Everyone was there for Pina Bausch on Tuesday”. I could not join so it is definitely my rentree

 

For those – sadly – unfamiliar with that aspect of Parisian cultural life, the Festival d’Automne is a multi-location Paris-based festival which, every year since 1972, gathers the quintessence of theatre, music, dance and even visual arts, and offers it to the general public as one package, running from September to the following January. Since 2012, it has decided to honour two great artists every year. This year, William Forsythe and Romeo Castellucci

 

We will come back later to the latter, but tonight, this is the rentree of the former, with its massively famous piece: Limb’s theorem. Le theoreme des Limbes, as it is commonly understood but I cannot help thinking there is a pun, well intended, on the double entendre of the word “limb” (un membre, for my French readers)

 

It starts discretely. Dark stage. One can notice – only if very focused – some bodies moving around to the far left of the stage. Some people continue to talk in the audience. The new Minister of Culture has not yet arrived, so our French always-on Minister of Culture – Jack Lang if you did not get the joke – is temping. The whole lefty cultural upper crust is here, this is definitely the place to be

 

As one manages to see more clearly what is on stage, the music gets louder, the movements get faster, the whole scenery gets more agitated. This is the word. Agitated. But this agitation, taking place in the shadow of a gigantic suspended partition which could easily pass as a photovoltaic panel, immediately makes a lot of sense

 

Thom Willens’ music is here of course. Meaningful in its own right, but incredibly relevant to Forsythe’s choregraphy. The light is an integral part of the performance too. It is dim to start with, and I spent the first ten minutes wondering when it will get switched on. It does, but progressively and without people noticing it, the stage is in semi-full light

 

The colours are pure black and white, and often only the shadows remain. Someone – making faces – is sitting near the panel, and turns it by a quarter of a circle every five minutes. This splits the stage – in which every little area, especially the border ones, is used – in two parallel worlds. The limbs and the rest of the world? But Dante had 7 different types of limbs... I would personally campaign for avoiding to search for any rationale interpretation. One should just get immersed into the magnificent baudelairian Correspondences of music, dance, light and colours that is developing in front of them

 

This ballet was created in 1990, I caught myself thinking. How contemporary – 21st century contemporary – was it in 1990! Massive! The stage again dives into dark. This is really an alternance de joie et de peines, as sung by Honore Bostel (reminiscent of so many good memories in our twenties). This could also be what is going on within Star Trek’s Enterprise when no one is looking

 

End of the first act

 

The second one (Enemy in the Figure) is even more a full Forsythe play as scenography is also Forsythe’s (whilst it is Michael Simon in the first and third acts). And it is even more brilliant. Colour is making an entry. Hum... Colour, say, white, which was clearly absent from the first act, all black. The choregraphy starts by what looks dangerously like what my personal trainer insisted I did last week: side plank, chair against the wall. Forsythe’s troupe does it without even thinking about it

 

The central panel has been replaced by what will be identified later as a wooden curve partition, lying on the floor, unlike in the first act. Looks like one of the shapes used by Germany-born artist Charlotte Posenenske in some of her late series

 

Costume diversity is provided by dots, ample shirts or trousers with fringes. The light becomes suddenly cold. Surgical. And then gets back to the shadow of black and white, forgetting brown behind. With the arrival of the brown colour, the music becomes slightly more Moroccan. The choregraphy as well

 

The stage looks definitely like a theatre stage during an Ostermeier-directed Ibsen play. Massively reminiscent of Ghosts (Gengangere in Norwegian) he directed in les Amandiers two years ago

 

And suddenly the white shapes disappear, as in a dream. The music fades away. End of the second act

 

I will not comment as much on the third act as I liked it less. From Star Trek, we have gone to Doctor Who. The panel turned partition seems now a piece of a telescope. Or a gigantic nutshell, quite aggressive against the 27-people strong troupe. A sail is oscillating in the background

 

The choregraphy is still awfully precise: movements and gestures seem kind of lifted in silence, and unvariably end on the right beat of percussions. What an ensemble, for a music and a choregraphy that are supposed to live their own lives...

 

Again, the troupe’s agitation seems to vanish progressively. Lines are forming. Some dancers disappear. Light also is disappearing. The curtain starts falling again. For the third time. This is the end?!? What? It only just started. 2 hours ago actually, but it definitely feels like it

 

If you don’t have your tickets already, this is definitely worth trying every (legal) trick to get some, as this show is only on for two more nights (Thursday 5 and Friday 6 September, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris)

 

Good luck. And if you fail, book your tickets to Lyon or Frankfurt, where Forsythe’s choregraphies are usually performed. And don’t forget: the Festival d’Automne still shows five pieces by Forsythe, especially the massive In the dark, somewhat elevated... Lots to think about

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The painter of herself, flowers and her own reality (Kahlo/Rivera, Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris)

The painter of herself, flowers and her own reality (Kahlo/Rivera, Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Parisians become like Londoners. They queue. They spend their Saturday afternoon queuing. And even in queues, privileges still remain

 

As far as I am concerned, I hate queuing. Or rather I don't do queuing, as one dear American friend of mine once told me. Or if I do queuing, it is always VIP queues. Or the shortest one. The one for people with some kind of privileges

 

This is how I was rationalising my queuing in a cold Saturday afternoon that was the penultimate day of the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris. Meno male che non piove, per verità

 

Is Kahlo alone, or Kahlo and Rivera? I did not know this as the two of them are so undissociable. Montaigne et La Boetie. Castor et Pollux. Abel et Cain. Yes, Abel et Cain rather

 

The first room is cubist. One can be anywhere. This is Rivera’s pre-Kahlo period, one that is less well known of this big (in both meanings) artist's life. But the exhibition really starts with the Casa Azul. Or rather a sort of awkward representation of it. This will be the main nest of the couple, which is at the same time a great pair, artistically, politically, personally

 

I am eager to see if this exhibition will go in detail on Diego's murals - but how to transport them?, on their relationship with Trotsky, whether it will render the uncomparable atmosphere of the real Casa Azul in Coyoacan – one of the most charming areas of Mexico DF –, or that of the San Francisco school of arts that owes a lot to Rivera

 

The first real room of the exhibition is a cabinet de curiosites on the couple's life. Drawings, sketches, Frida's painted genealogical tree. Interesting but I pass quickly. Next room is the real deal. It proved later to be the only room...

 

But I cannot find the First Painting. In the bus, I think it is called. It describes Frida's accident, which was the first step towards her life as a painter. Or rather her life before the accident, painted five or six years later I believe. No trace either of these deeply moving paintings which show her with a broken spin, replaced by a machine gun, or her dying in a hospital. Kahlo always paints her personal, intimate story (“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality”). Here, lots of portraits. We are one step further. But I feel the exhibition has jumped over some important moments

 

I am attracted to El difuntito Dimas Rosas, a los tres anos de edad. This deeply moving but Kahlo-awkward technically painting looks like Kehinde Wiley. Templon, nous voici

 

Hurray. In the bus. L'autobus en francais. The only painting by Kahlo where she does not represent herself broken, shattered, a pezzi. This bus is a soothing piece. The only one Kahlo painted

 

On the opposite wall, lots of portraits by Rivera. Dolores Patino, her biggest collector and patron, lots of Indians, Lalane the poet. All interesting pieces but the link between those and with Frida's works is unclear

 

Back to a Frida wall. Corazon, cactus y feto (s.d.) is also a major one. And so is Flor de la vida (1944). We sort of have penetrated in the lair of a Mexican Doctor Who. El circulo (1950) looks like the ancestor of Hirst's spin painting. Small size

 

On the back wall, Kahlo's still lives. In no particular order. Difficult to get around and about

 

In the middle of the big room, there is another room. Peculiar set up but why not? Near the entrance, Retrato de Luther Burbank, a la maniere des Surrealist painters. This is a corpse, giving birth to a tree trunk, giving birth to tree leaves, giving birth to a man, Luther Burbank. Who is, appunto, a horticulturist. The circle of life, if we want to paraphrase two of her titles

 

I step into the central sanctuary of the exhibition. It IS a sanctuary. All Kahlo's main paintings are here. La columna rota (1944, pictured) to show her post her bus accident. A machine gun as plaster, what's not to like? La mascara de la locura (1945). The madness of her passion for Diego, twice married, and separated once more. A few auto-portraits with a small monkey. Symbol of death, isn't it? Mi nana y yo (1937), symbol of her happy childhood with her native American nanny. Sin esperanza (1945) where she pukes her bowels. Sublime Henry Ford hospital (1932) where she represents the impossibility for her to give birth. And finally the most bloody of all, Unos quantos piquetitos (1935) where she represents herself in her bedroom, victime of a contemporary serial killer

 

I don't want to leave the sanctuary as the exhibition is already finished. It was short, not always crisp. But I would have queued even more to see more iconic pieces of the divine Kahlo. My only regret is that they have not been more paintings, and more on the political engagement of the famous-infamous couple. This kind of exhibition should be didactic, and I feel for whoever did not know anything of their life, they have not learnt much more.

 

My other regret? Not to have posted this early enough for those who have not yet seen it, still to be able to visit the exhibition. But I am sure there will be another Kahlo exhibition shortly, somewhere in Europe. I shall be quicker next time

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Through a Baudelairian looking glass (Parreno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris)

Through a Baudelairian looking glass (Parreno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

As I get into Palais de Tokyo for the penultimate day of Parreno, I realise a few things have changed: 1) the location of the desk; 2) the entrance fee, which I believe was inexistent before (but maybe I am wrong?); and 3) the permanent pieces that were supposed to stay forever have disappeared, at least on the ground floor near the entrance

 

Never mind, I want to see what Parreno has made off the Palais de Tokyo. What a luxury to have such a massive space, in the cosy heart of Paris, that is transformable as one likes it, and offers so many possibilities. For the record, it is now a delicious restaurant (I have improved considerably my opinion on Monsieur Bleu compared to my review in its first week of existence in spring), and a multi-purpose concert hall, underground and brand new

 

Tout est illusion, in Parreno's world. The entrance itself is part of the exhibition. My earlier comment of the entrance desk having moved was correct. It has been moved by Parreno himself, to create contre-jour with employees and visitors. And if the permanent works of art that populated the Palais when it re-opened in 2012 have disappeared, it is to allow Parreno to blur the windows (see picture). We are isolated from the outside, visually as well

 

56 Flickering Lights are disseminated throughout the ground floor. Hold on, this is called floor 2. They switch on and off at the silent rhythm of Tchaikovsky's Petrushka. Why Petrushka? No idea. The story of a puppet that comes to life. It cannot be random

 

I step into Parreno's world, feeling like the Mad Hatter penetrating in a world that is already too big for me. As I move nearer the gigantic screen towards the silent head of a new born (Anna, don't confuse this with the film, Hannah...), I am able to see the screen less and less. Playing on contrasts, Parreno turns upside down our beliefs and dwarfs us. Bad for self-esteem. Good to lose arrogance. And hold on, the screen is clear. I can see through it. Can I walk through it? Am not sure. Close, it looks like shutters in a house in La Baule

 

Next space, musical. As I get closer the piano shuts up, which does not seem to disturb the 30-odd people religiously sitting on the dirty staircase that leads to nowhere. We are in Liam Gillick's Factories in the snow, where a disklaviers piano is being snowed at. There is no other way to say this. And the snow is black. Why would it not be? Funnily I have a very similar piano at home. It plays without a pianist. Judging by the astonishment on people's face, it is the first time they see one. Funny

 

Petrushka sounds like a well-educated and polished Bela. Bartok I mean. Two German couples are here. Was machen sie hier? Keine Ahnung... I would not have thought it would be an appealing exhibition for foreigners. And they don't look a bit like contemporary art rats. Mystery...

 

The piano shuts up again. I decide to move, carrying away some black snow with me

 

The next room is even more Alice in Wonderland fantasy. I am going through Dominique Gonzalez-Forrester's bookshelves as Alice was crossing the mirror. Just to find a changing exhibition where every day a drawing by Cage is replaced with a drawing by Cunningham (in case you have lost the link, Merce Cunningham’s troop of dancers danced Petrushka in New York, and this ballet is one Parreno wants to pay a tribute to). This took place in Margaret Roeder Gallery in 2002 and is simply re-enacted here. Why not?

 

As I exit the clandestine, geheimnisvoll, room of drawings, the light in the main space has disappeared. Great. The big colourful boards on the wall, which look like a hybrid between Vermeersch and Rutault when the light was on, now become understandable. And visible. Of course, one needs the light to disappear to see. How did I not think about it first. Renseignements pris, these are Parreno's old projects. His ghosts to some extent. That appear only in the dark. La boucle est bouclée, as the light brusquely reappears

 

With the light back on, I can see the robot that mimicks Parreno's handwriting. Only Delvoye's now famous machine is missing....

 

Down on the first floor, following some more flickering lights. And off to the Marquee. That is, a collection of 16 suspended neon lighted shapes that switch on and off alternatively, each with their specific sound. The lights flash on the rhythm of Tchaikovsky's music. C’est l'art total. I catch myself thinking about the amount of technology necessary to make this appear all that simple. Amazing

 

The rotonda, next, is soundtracked with the noise of the steps of Cunningham's dancers – here comes the link. C'est la non-danse at its paroxysm. Longue vie à Jerome Bel! And all this under the ultimate equations of I-cant-remember-whom (back home, Wikipedia is telling me Laurent Derobert), the only permament piece that I have been able to spot so far

 

Marilyn is recreated on a clear screen through a camera (the look), a robot (the handwriting) and a computer (the voice). But why on earth this fake snow - whitish this time - in the room's corners?

 

I love the automated doors (see next post). Of course, they don't open on anything. That would be too simple. But when they open, the sound of neighbouring Paris embankments get heard in the room...  Eh non, Monsieur, Monsieur Bleu (the entrance of which is in the same room) is not part of the exhibition... Un malin, celui-la

 

Another piano, another Petrushka

 

Furthermore than the wood of Marquees, the Continuously Habitable Zones (C.H.Z), shown on another film, look like Baudelaire's forest of Correspondances. They echo the noise in the ground underneath the Palais de Tokyo, whilst this deeply imbricated garden has been created in Portugal. Still feel like the mad hatter, running to my non-birthday party

 

Where one of the guests may be Annlee. "Which you can write whatever way you want" shouts a loudspeaker. She is the virtuality of one of the last spaces of this exhibition. That turns into reality, incarnated by a not-more-than-eleven years old Lolita, of flesh and bone, that wanders around in the exhibition. In front of a manga-like film. I am going to sit down. Maybe the bravest of the visitors will think I am part of the exhibition too? I feel like Orozco policemen...

 

Last floor down (I love going down, in the bowels of the earth, to dicover always more and more of this superb exhibition). Some intra space is locked down. Looks like the Penguin's headquarters in Batman. And another wood. Of screens with Zidane's image on each of them. 17 screens showing what 17 cameras have captured in a football match in 2005. Zidane as a piece of art. This is not the first time

 

It is over, and I am still followed by the Flickering Lights as I go back up from the arty catacombes. Brilliant show, which you have until tomorrow Sunday 12 January to see

 

And oh, one piece of recommendation to Ms Filipetti, French minister of culture: why not select Philippe Parreno for Monumenta 2015? I am sure someone has already thought about it. But it is not sure if he will accept...

 

 

 

Philippe Parreno

Anywhere, Anywhere

Out of the World

Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Until Sunday 12 January 2014, midnight

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La semaine derniere (week 1-14)

La semaine derniere (week 1-14) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aimé:

- the new email search function in iOS 7: type a word and all the emails including that particular word will appear, in decreasing order of importance (ie first the emails that have this word in the recipient / sender, then in subject, then in the body of the email). This in and of itself is a good solace for the rest of iOS 7 which has so many shortcomings and bugs. And for the next must-have improvement: a Blackberry-type categorisation of contacts (the iPhone one drives me absolutely crazy…)

- Mary Goodnight: in lieu of Tse, the now deceased awful Thai canteen opposite the Murat, porte d'Auteuil in Paris, Thiou, of Thiou-and-tigre-qui-pleure-et-qui-nourrit-tous-les-politiques-de-la-place fame, has dropped her suitcases. And this is a revolution. Delicious and original salmon carpaccio, excellent thai beef salad with noodles, good (but still perfectible) crying tiger (…), over friendly staff, and a very spacious terrace, this is a lot better, and completely of the right caliber to steal customers away from le Murat opposite, the quality of which has gone downhill over the years

- l'excellentissime interview de Fabrice Lucchini au Figaro Magazine - tellement drole et finalement assez en ligne avec ce que beaucoup n'osent pas dire

- Nano, the new canteen in Montorgueil designed by Ora-Ito (14 rue Bachaumont, Paris 2e, pictured). Simple principle: you pick as many small verrines as you like, savoury or sweet, warm or cold, they range from salmon tartare to scallop risotto, from quinoa tabouleh to duck parmentier. Plus delicious soups and sandwiches 

 

Je n'ai pas aimé:

- the lack of updates of the Luxe City Guides - once the best dinner or birthday present one could make, they have turned into a bit of a disappointment owing to lack of updates (and the very in the know feature of the advice was precisely their main attraction) and lack of new cities being available. Schade!

- the closure of Gare du Nord's Grand Voyageur lounge in the week ends - what? Why cannot one be a Grand Voyageur on Saturdays?

- Canal +, altogether. I have been a subscriber since the first day of the channel. 5 times over the last 4 weeks, I have reactivated my rights (which already prompts the question, why did I need to do this?). 5 times, I failed to receive the encrypted TV channel. Tired and annoyed by the time wasted, I decide to send my cancellation letter: no problem sir, you will be disconnected in October 2014. What are the consumers' right associations doing??

 

Je n'ai pas tranché sur:

- the St James hotel in Trouville sur Mer, Calvados - very charming little hotel, a stone's throw away from the beach. Most of the 10 bedrooms nicely refurbished, very Laura Ashley style; ueber-helpful man of the house Christian, advising on nice nearby restaurants but also cooking excellent breakfast. All in all very charming, if you are in the suite (room 9) or one of the largest bedrooms (1, 4, 5 or 8). Not in one of the simple rooms. Could do with a mini-bar in the rooms, and a larger drawing room, but all in all a very pleasant alternative to soul-less Barriere colony, and very affordable (www.hotel-saint-james.fr)

 

Je veux essayer:

- Hotel Montaigne, the relatively new hotel opened right next to Bar des Theatres, avenue Montaigne, in Paris. Whether for a shopping week end, or for a drink before or after the great Theatre des Champs-Elysees, this hotel, decorated by Pierre-Yves Rochon, may provide the right place to chill. Will try it soon (www.montaigne-hotel.com)

 

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Ein oesterreichischer Uhrwerk Verdurinsalon | Des arbres a abattre, La Colline, Paris

Ein oesterreichischer Uhrwerk Verdurinsalon | Des arbres a abattre, La Colline, Paris | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

La salle est noire. Noire totale. Comme avant la dernière pièce de Claude Régy. Mais j’espère que ce sera moins ch****. C’est la rentrée théâtrale. La mienne en tous cas. Claude Duparfait apparait progressivement dans le coin gauche de la scène. Dans le fauteuil à oreilles. Je regarde ma voisine. Elle ne dort pas encore. Moi non plus. La soirée s’annonce bien

 

On n’est pas censé pouvoir jouer les pièces de Thomas Bernhard, même si ses héritiers se sont liberes eux-memes de cette aggressive disposition testamentaire de celui qui, toute sa vie durant, a entretenu une relation d’amour-haine avec l’Autriche et les Autrichiens. Est-ce pour cela que l’on adapte en pieces ses romans? Holzfaellen, traduit – mal, forcément – par Woodcutters en anglais et Des arbres a abattre en francais, est le sujet de ce qui nous reunit ce soir

 

Il y a evidemment quelque chose de Thomas Bernhard en Claude Duparfait. Il suffit de l’entendre parler sur le theatre pour l’imaginer sans peine raler sur un grand nombre de sujets, y compris le theatre. A La Colline, des le debut de la piece, les gens rient. Pourquoi? Holzfaellen n’est pas une piece drole selon moi. C’est un appel au secours qui revet la forme d’une litanie. L’Autriche est ici metaphoriquement representee par un petit groupe d’intellectuels mais c’est bien de l’Autriche qu’il s’agit, sur laquelle Duparfait-Bernhard deverse son fiel. En commencant bien sur par la main qui l’a nourri, trente ans auparavant. Le compositeur Gerhard Lampersberg a tente de faire interdire le livre, se reconnaissant en Auersberger. N’est-ce pas la ce que l’on appelle desormais le syndrome Barbara Streisand?

 

Je n’aime pas les traductions. Celle-ci ne fait pas exception. Je me demande toujours pourquoi les gens supportent de lire ou de voir des representations traduites alors que cela fait a peu pres vingt ans que plus personne ne regarde les versions francaises des nanars de Tom Cruise au cinema. Mystere. Ici, on parle toujours de la Joana (dont l’enterrement le matin meme sert de pretexte au roman dont est tiree cette piece). Tournure typiquement allemande. Pourquoi l’avoir conservee? Je me perds en conjecture. Mais il faut revenir a la piece

 

De salon des Verdurin germanophone, la scene progresse vers une aggression cadencee. “Vous m’avez adresse la parole par derriere” accuse Madame Auersberger. Ca sonne comme une attaque. Duparfait est excellent sur scene. Mais mal servi par un texte, ou plutot par une intrigue, inexistants. Meme en connaissant le parti-pris misanthrope de Thomas Bernhard, on se prend a chercher une explication a cette haine de l’autre. Ce qui frappe aussi chez Duparfait, c’est l’intensite de son jeu, alors meme qu’il reste assis dans le fauteuil a oreilles, sans presque bouger, que le visage. On l’imagine dans Oh les beaux jours. Mais il n’a pas fini de tirer sa journee... Ou nous, notre soiree

 

A ce moment la de la piece, un regain d’espoir nous gagne. Duparfait semble amorcer une explication de son exil, des premisses de la situation presente. On s’attend a ce que l’intrigue se noue. Mais on est vite decus. La psychanalyse de l’auteur continue sur scene. On pense a Koltes et a sa Nuit juste avant les forets, formidable piece, pour le monologue. Pirandello n’est pas loin, on est quand meme face a des personnages qui parlent d’eux-memes. Maupassant non plus, et le raccourci d’Auersberger en Auersberg, pllus aristocratique, n’est pas sans rappeler celui de Georges Duroy, devenu du Roy, lorsqu’il decide de s’attacher Canteleu, patelin ou il naquit, devenu Cantel, pour incarner Georges du Roy de Cantel, dans les dernieres pages de Bel-Ami. Ca me rappelle une anecdote avec Sacha Guitry...

 

On parle beaucoup d’Ibsen. Les chandeliers sur la scene, majestueux, rappellent le feu des Revenants. J’aime les clins d’oeil de la mise en scene, j’aime le jeu des acteurs – les seconds roles sont extraordinaires, avec une mention speciale pour Annie Mercier (pictured, avec Claude Duparfait). Mais apres une heure vingt, on cherche toujours un sens

 

La musique fait son entree, avec la sonate d’Auersberger. On atteint la le paroxysme du cliche: le compositeur, soi-disant avant-gardiste, joue une sonate qui serait a mi-chemin entre un Britten dodecaphonique, et la musique d’accompagnement de la non-danse de Jerome Bel. Je ne peux m’empecher de penser a ces phrases, si souvent entendues a propos d’art contemporain: “Je pourrais te faire le meme”, ou mieux encore “Mon fils de quatre ans a fait quelque chose de plus beau”. Cette sonate marque la fin de mes espoirs, en ce sens qu’elle confirme l’adhesion de l’auteur aux lieux communs. On pourrait etre a Edouard VII

 

La tension remonte, et rencontre un moment de pur extase: le bolero de Ravel. Sauf qu’il vient un peu comme un cheveu sur la soupe, on ne sait pas pourquoi. En realite, madame Auersberger le met pour rendre hommage a “la Joana” dont c’est la musique preferee. Mais le lien logique n’est pas ici present. A moins que je n’aie ferme les yeux cinq minutes. La encore, la mise en scene est interessante: un leger rideau blanc recouvre la scene, et fait revivre des souvenirs en video. Puis on convoque Sartre: “Les hommes sont un poison l’un pour l’autre”

 

Une dizaine de minutes avant la fin, on a un peu l’impression que ca bouge: le fauteuil a oreilles livre ses pensees, Madame Auersberger sous-entend une idylle avec Bernhard (dont on n’a en realite jamais vraiment su si et avec qui il avait jamais eu une idylle), le mepris pour la creation du compositeur refait surface. L’exil a Londres et le retour masochiste pour l’enterrement de Joana ne seraient-ils en fait que le moyen d’accepter un exil qui n’etait pas voulu? Et si Bernhard le misanthrope, l’Autrichien haineux des Autrichiens qui fit sortir pendant un de ses discours plusieurs ministres et membres du gouvernement tant ses critiques contre l’Autriche etaient virulentes, si Bernhard, disais-je, n’avait pas rejete, mais avait ete rejete?

 

On y reflechira plus tard. Pour ce soir c’est trop tard. Je me suis ennuye. Malgre le jeu et la mise en scene impeccables

 

 

Des arbres a abattre

D’apres Holzfaellen de Thomas Bernhard

Theatre National de la Colline

Mise en scene Cecile Pauthe et Claude Duparfait

Jusqu’au 28 septembre 2013

 

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La philosophie pour les nuls, en bande dessinee (Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence, South of France)

La philosophie pour les nuls, en bande dessinee (Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence, South of France) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

When driving up there, one crosses awful little villages that have been destroyed by human greed and utter need to spend conges payes on the French Riviera. Upon arrival, the landscape changes and becomes more green - but everything looks and feels uber-organised. 15 euros to get in, 5 euros to take photos. The whole space is taken over by philo-superstar BHL’s Les aventures de la verite exhibition. But when entering the garden, the same Chillida, Hepworth, Calder, Leger and other artists that have greatly contributed to build the Maeght family reputation

 

But let's start with this summer most talked about exhibition. It is supposed to show the links between Art and Philosophy - and has attracted a number of half-celebs, some of them having had the privilege of Monsieur Levy in person

 

First room, the entrance. The curse of the shadows. The common theme seems to be Plato and his cave. Otherwise, what is there in common between Morandi, transformist British artist Grayson Perry and Beuys's Fettfleck (fat stain) for instance? In the second half of the first room, a few interesting and surprising pieces. An etching showing the birth of painting by Joseph-Benoit Sauvée looks stunning: a girl draws her fiance's shadow on a wall before he leaves. Perhaps the most relevant piece in this first room. At this point, the links between shadows, the cave, Plato and the artists appear magically clear. And I am surprised not to see a Soulages here. Too easy perhaps? Huang Yong Ping's Plato cavern is stunning: through a very small hole, one can see inside a humongous resin grotto, with bats shadows, and buddhas and talibans... Makes one think

 

Moving to room 2, excitement grows. The artist has fallen in Plato's cave. How to make him (her?) worthy again? BHL summons the Bible and Veronica, who gave Jesus her veil on Via Dolorosa. If Jesus himself has printed his face on Veronica's veil, it means that printing images can be holy after all. Again in room 2, this is not a contemporary piece that draws my attention, but a piece by Mignard, Saint Luke painting the Virgin. Again, BHL chooses a theme (revolving around Veronique), and goes around it: after multiple representations of Veronique, and her veil, the veil alone with pieces by Tapies and the more confidential Wolfgang Gaefgan. At times though, it goes a bit too far: not every woman with a light piece of clothing can be called a Veronique, and I can't help wondering why Fortuny's Nudo femminile di spalle has found its way in this otherwise stunning show. Moving down, there is a Garouste. One of my favourite painters. But suddenly afterwards, for the Bonnard nude, the leaflet shows BHL's cheekiness: perhaps the curator has left his imagination run, it says. Yes, he has, and we are relieved - but not surprised - that he realises and acknowledges it. Room 2 ends majestuously, with mimeographed images of Jackie O, still Jackie K, on a printed veil, by Warhol

 

At this point, what strikes me beyond the mere thinking process behind assembling these pieces, is the multiplicity of their origins - as if the curator had taken a universal catalogue of all the world's works of art of all times

 

The pre-room 3 is less clear. It is the third act of the first two: 1) the artists were in the dark, 2) the artists come to light, and 3) the artists retaliate and send the philosophers to the shadows. Baldessari OK, Sophie Calle why not - although the philosophical link is a bit tenuous - but Picabia and Abramovic, not really here. Let's move on. The rest of room 3, although displaying beautiful pieces - Ensor, Garouste again, Leger, Pei-Ming, Basquiat, to name a few - has no immediate link with the story BHL wants to tell us. N'importe, let's continue, and let's perhaps forget about wanting to rationalise a story

 

Room 4 is no clearer in terms of fil conducteur of the story - but again one is amazed by the universality of the artists shown here. Kiefer, Soulages - not the most relevant to make BHL's points - Meese, Ellsworth Kelly, dear to the Maeght's heart, even Opalka are summonned to tell the philosophical story. The story though becomes pointillist, we seem no longer invited to the grand show of the philosophical history, but to a concatenation of small stories, the sum of which represents our curator's message. And when the ingredients are as prestigious and stunning as those here, we have to abide

 

In room 5, art wins by KO over philosophy. Is BHL really a philosopher? But hold on, there are still two rooms to go? Room 5 is a good cliffhanger: what is coming next, I catch myself worrying, climbing the steps to room 6?

 

Expectedly, in room 6, philosophy wins back. And the story becomes clearer. Man Ray is called to help, so are Duchamp and his many portraitists, Klein and his blue sculptural portraits, a brilliant Sol LeWitt and an ueber-witty Burgin (Lei Feng, 1974). There is also talk of Isidore Isou and Guy Debord, with their inspirator Gabriel Pomerand. On pressent une fin heureuse. What if room 7 was to put philo and art on an equal footing?

 

Here comes room 7 - and final. Lots of colours. And the expected truce. Art and philosophy are good friends after all, and BHL, in this magnificent exhibition has shown that he can master both, very impressively. Let's look around us: Matisse, Arroyo, Vezzoli, Boucher, Bacon, Giacometti, Barcelo, Basquiat again, Tintoretto, BHL has invited a who's who of ancient, modern and contemporary creation to the reconciliation of art and speech. And he has even set the scene, by Immendorff. What could the scene be, if not Le Flore (pictured)? Mister Levy, you are cheeky – of course not the best piece of this extraordinary exhibition, but such a wink that I had to show it

 

What I have attended in the last three hours (yes, three hours) is really a parcours initiatique. It is a didactic way to teach philosophy from art, by underlining one philosophical interpretation that artists may or may not have wanted to give their works. It is artistico-philosophical exegesis, where BHL takes us by the hand and leads the way. Well done, you have given me the urge to read Plato, Nietzsche and Heidegger again

 

 

Les aventures de la verite, curated by Bernard-Henri Levy

Fondation Maeght

Saint-Paul de Vence, South of France

Until 11 November 2013

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Les heritiers de Kentridge et de Goldblatt (La Maison Rouge, Paris)

Les heritiers de Kentridge et de Goldblatt (La Maison Rouge, Paris) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

Paris. July. Big sun. What big? Huge sun. More than 35 degrees. Decided to leave the pool and work on my general culture

 

After a failed attempt at Fondation Cartier - given the queue, I did my usual trick of wanting to become a mecene, and entering with the card. Unfortunately there was no one to take donations and the guard at the entrance sounded as if he could hardly understand why a French man in shorts would come on a sunny Saturday afternoon to the middle of Denfert-Rochereau to give a cheque to a foundation and not even want to see the exhibition. Was he so wrong after all?

 

So I decide to head to La Maison Rouge. Recurring readers would already know all the good I think of La Maison Rouge. This is one of the top 3 contemporary art places in Paris for me. And they are always so innovative - and so nice. 4 exhibitions a year, this one is the summer one. My Joburg. And it is about Johannesburg. This belongs to the cycle of unusual artistic cities, the first of which was last year's My Winnipeg - OK, they could have been more original with the title. I still have not convinced the team there to do a whole show on Kluj, Hungary. But I am resilient, watch out for the Hungarian scene in....2020

 

Back to Jozi. I only know three artists from there: Goldblatt, William Kentridge (which I missed at the Comedie Francaise last week but saw in Rio a few months ago) and Robin Rhode. All photographers, at least partially. All of whom I stopped short of buying a couple of years ago. Should probably have. Inside the exhibition, one is greeted by a gigantic collection of photos by Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse (no, the other Waterhouse...) - a systematic photo of each window and door of Ponte City, flagship Joburg building. Reminds me straightaway of the beautiful Goldblatt photos that Marian Goodman showed 2-3 years ago in Paris. Intimacy through a window. A recurring SouthAf theme?

 

Am a bit skeptical on the opening installation by Malcomess and Kreutzfeld (a curious name association I have to say): apart from their index map which is vaguely reminiscent of some of the work Gilles Barbier does on words, this looks like some has opened Amelie Poulain's box and pinned all the contents on a grey wall in a pretty disorderly fashion. Next

 

Next are films and photos on Joburg as a city, including some of the great David Goldblatt, even though I prefer those taken inside and looking at the city through windows, with multiple layers of images. These would be amongst his most recent work, post 2010. Sue Williamson's video box, walking the passer-by through the difficulties of the immigrants to South Africa post Mandela elections, is incredibly reminiscent of the work Gillian Wearing did on her family, not least because you see a film of the two witnesses in front of you, they speak and yet they do not move the lips. But they move still, it is not a photo. Unfortunately what they are saying is the common lot of most immigrants to anywhere

 

I like Sabelo Mlangeni's series on female street cleaners, "the invisible women". Don't know why but it reminds me of some of the scenes of the excellent Reunification des Deux Corees by Pommerat last year

 

First quasi-revelation of this exhibition, Europa by Nandipha Mntambo, representing her with a buffalo head. Interesting to walk inside Nitegeka series of Obstacle - you feel oppressed straightaway. What is striking in Kudzanai Chiurai (also represented by Marian Goodman) painting is that at first glance, the black characters do not show up; one sees a nice Mickey Mouse. But second glance: plenty of black figures with worrying faces - why are they smiling? Are they playing tricks? - so one's look goes back to the reassuring Mickey Mouse. But here again, wrong impression: Mickey seems to have huge teeth, be part of the whole plot and not really well-meaning. So interesting! I also love his portraits of imaginary SouthAf government - very close to Kehinde Wiley portraits... Telling

 

Gerhard Marx' Scion is the black version of Penone's Respirare l'ombra. Two opposite and not categorised forms of land art

 

Willen Boshoff's Nice Guys has attracted my curiosity: from the far, the most disgusting collection of ties. Come nearer, each tie is associated with the name of "nice guy" - ranging from Charles Manson to Saddam Hussein and George W Bush... No comment - and a number, the number of deaths they are supposed to be responsible for...

 

The next room includes a lot of findings. The textile pieces "à messages" by Lawrence Lemaoana, an old rugbyman born in 1982; the wooden characters carved by Johannes Segogela; or the "deroutés" prints by Brett Murray, using the old apartheid boards to denounce present corruption and clientelism. History repeating... This exhibition is definitely getting increasingly better. The two Cindy Shearman wannabes in the next room are also interesting, as, although they use the same means as Shearman - ie use their own body to impersonate characters or situations - they both choose a different angle of attack. My favorite one: Rose's Mami, 2001

 

Going through these two series of lesbian portraits by Zanele Muholi is quite impressive: you feel judged immediately, as though they knew what you are thinking. In the next room, the mega-installation by Jane Alexander (pictured), with double "barbeles" and 1000 "machettes" is also scary and although one cannot get inside, it definitely creates a feeling of unease. Are we not experiencing art, justement?

 

The end of the exhibition is a fireworks, that culminates in the work of the four female artists downstairs. No limit in what they represent and how they say it, although young, they use their hidden nemesis to convey the history of their forefathers

 

A big thank you to the Maison Rouge team to make us discover, once more, an original artistic scene, that few of us would have otherwise seen

 

My Joburg

La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert

10 boulevard de la Bastille, Paris 12e

Until 22 September 2013

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La semaine derniere (week 31)

La semaine derniere (week 31) | Culture and lifestyle | Scoop.it

J'ai aime:

 

- Queen of the Stone Age - the new album by this California-born, rock band founded in 1996 by Josh Homme, and, from the confession of its leader, the one that was most trouble to produce, is called Like Clockwork... And it may work like clockwork in the rich discography (5 albums already) of this charismatic band. There will be some for all tastes, and possibly even more for those who are not long-lasting fans of QOTSA (www.qotsa.com)

 

- L'Assiette des Mondes - in the countryside near Honfleur, a not so charming house from the outside. Step inside, and you will find the neverending smile of the owner / waitress / chef's wife and a welcome alternative to the traditional cuisine normande. Coming from all over the world, you can taste tajine, curries and fajitas, in an always changing menu. The owners are very present on the web, which is great to make this place better known. Congrats, we had a very good dinner (www.assiettedesmondes.fr)

 

- Taryn Simon, American-born, Berlin-based artist born in 1974. Her latest series, put together between 2008 and 2011 is called A Living Man declared dead and other Chapters. It is a systematic work about different outside of the ordinary bloodlines (eg rabies-infected rabbits in Australia, family of a terrorist or that of a living man that was declared dead by the authorities, which gives its tongue-in-cheek title to the whole series). Each work is also beautifully presented, in three parts: the first one is the systematic ordering of photos of members of the bloodline, the central part tells the story and the third one collects details - Taryn calls it her footnotes. Was presented a couple of years ago in Berlin's Hauptbanhof, which was a grand setting for this immense work. Pieces available at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris or Brussels, and at Gagosian in London or New York. Or buy the book on her website: www.tarynsimon.com

 

- la Flambee - good restaurant in the centre of Deauville, with exquisite meat. A good alternative to the Barriere chain

 

- le Cafe Francais - new Costes outpost in Bastille, Paris, refurbished by India Madhavi. Several rooms, several atmospheres. And an original food menu, with some traditional Costes dishes and some trouvailles, such as cold hake with mayo and pot-au-feu revisited with meatballs. Nice staff, even nicer with the somebodies...

 

- the Blandings - not enough episodes of Downton Abbey to keep you busy? Try the Blandings, an ITV series with the phenomenal Jennifer Saunders (the crazy one in AbFab). Clearly you won't have the unduplicable Maggie Smith asking "Why does every day involve a fight with an American" when sitting on a rotating chair, but some parts ought to be remembered. Here is a sample:

1) When discussing prospects of a dog food business: "Is Lisbon in America? Not especially. Oh, so much for the better"

2) To her brother wearing a straw hat to go to the Shropshire show: "Hat, patrician bearing and chop chop"

3) After a car crash into a tree: "Oh, this tree has been put there only recently. Please move it back to its original position"

Welcome to stiff upper lip Britland. Attention, Brett's habits and vocabs mandatory here

 

- seeing people at the airport during the summer holiday season rushing to a boarding gate, just to find out the boarding of their flight had not yet started... Cruel, I know

 

 

Je n'ai pas aime:

 

- that two out of three Parafe cabins - these are the booths that scan your passport and your fingerprints in Paris without having to go through the usual lack of politeness of a custom clerk, great system, registration mandatory - in the busiest CDG terminal (2E) were broken on the busiest day of the year (3 August). Very smartly - unemployment counter measure? - Paris airports put a guy at the entrance of the lonely functioning booth to show people how to place their passport on the reader. Really? Judging by the state of excitement of the woman before me, it may not have been so superfluous... But pls next time, two out of three working would already be a 100% improvement...

 

 

Je n'ai pas tranche sur:

 

- the new-ish Tick & Live FNAC app (French Amazon) - originally a great idea: gather all the tickets bought on Fnac Spectacles (exhibitions, theatre, concerts, etc) in one place on one's iPhone. No need to queue to get them printed (very 19th century once you have booked all on the Internet), no need to pay the price of another ticket to get them sent to your house (when they arrive), no need to fight with your printer or emails to print them at home (when you get to retrieve them). So what is the issue then? Only 1 out of 5 tickets can be downloaded on the app. The rest has to be queued for, sent at home or printed... Once it becomes universal, it will be brilliant

 

 

Je veux essayer:

 

- the Artel Polka Dot tumblers (pictured): dots are being fashionable these days with Kusama designing for Vuitton and Lichtenstein all over the European contemporary art museums. These glasses are designed for the Bohemian glassware company Artel and can be found on www.artelglass.com or www.artedona.com

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