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Jean Paul Gaultier at Grand Palais

I love my museum passes. Main perk? I can drop in to any exhibition I’d like to see at any time and not even have to worry about the queue. Downside? I get complacent and put off certain visits until near the end of the exhibition period. Which was exactly what happened with that of Jean Paul Gaultier – days before it closes!

JPG @ Grand Palais

JPG @ Grand Palais

Admittedly, I had not really planned to go and see it, and was thinking I’d give it a miss. Afterall, I know next to zero about fashion and trends, and with a bunch of things happening in the day-to-day, this exhibition was placed low on the priority list. However, my curiosity was piqued when friends who have seen it found it well-curated, along with a very cryptic hint that it is “special”.

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Niki de Saint Phalle

We made a last ditch effort to catch the exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle at the Grand Palais today. My colleague S saw it recently and absolutely loved it. I don’t know anything about Saint Phalle, except some of her sculptures are permanently installed by the Centre Pompidou and her style of work is so distinctive that I immediately recognised it when I saw “La Tempérance” in Luxembourg City.

(Note to self: I should write about Luxembourg City one of these days, as this blog contains only two measly P365 posts about it.)

Niki de St Phalle

Niki de St Phalle

I had expected to see more of her characteristic colourful and bountiful figures, and I ended up getting to know a lot more about the artist – sculptor, painter, filmmaker; the sources of inspiration – albeit painful ones in some cases – of her works; and some very personal story brought forth to the surface. I learned that art was “a way of taming those dragons which have always appeared in [her] work” and she wanted “to show everything; [her] heart, [her] emotions”.

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Recently, at the Grand Palais

We are terrible at keeping up with exhibitions. Never mind that we have annual passes that allow us to visit on multiple occasions throughout the period of the exhibitions. Instead, we typically wait till a good portion of the periods is over, then either rushed through them or risked missing them altogether. Currently, in the Grand Palais, two exhibitions are taking place: both started in early May, with one ending in about a week and another in 3 weeks. Armed with our Carte Sésame, we headed over one evening this week.

Exhibition at Grand Palais

The installation of Monumenta this year is by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Russian-born artists, who brought us “The Strange City”. Indeed it is a peculiar one, for even by the main entryway, a large probe-like installation beamed changing colours amidst strange music, if you can call it that. And scattered in a few other “rooms”, there are wood carvings of flying angels and weird city layouts. Neither F nor I know what to make of these.

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It sparkles at Cartier

Hurrah, I finally got round to getting my Grand Palais Sésame 2013/2014 pass! The first exhibition I saw with my all-access pass was that of Cartier, slated to run until 16 February 2014 in the Salon d’Honneur.

I am not one who’s particularly interested in sparkly and expensive jewellery, but still curious enough to want to see what makes others gasp with joy given the beauty of gems and precious metals set into decorative items, both wearable and non-wearable. It is also always interesting to learn the role that Cartier plays in the history of decorative arts, and to take a brief look into the creative process behind some of the exhibited pieces. I must say I still don’t know the topic sufficiently well to try to write about it, but I have some photos that I can certainly share with you.

Cartier

Cartier

Cartier

Cartier

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Project 365 – Week 41

It is somewhat disorientating to be back in Paris when I’m still in semi-Asian mode. You know, like wanting to eat noodles or nasi lemak first thing in the morning, craving for dim sum in the afternoon, longing for late-night supper, lamenting the lack of time to play more with my niece and my nephew, missing my family in general… Poor F had had an overdose of Asian food though (my family was feeding him ALL the time) and had decreed that we would be eating European fare for the coming weeks.

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Happy Hours

7 Oct: Many bars around Paris have some kind of happy hours offer nowadays, but sadly, not at my favourite cocktail hangout… and sometimes, I wish happy hours in Paris can be more like the happy hours in I used to enjoy in Milan. Strictly speaking, it’s not happy hours per se, but l’aperitivo, the time for a pre-dinner drink. Traditionally a good selection of snacks/food are also available and usually included in the price of the drink. Classic options include olives, chips, pizza and pasta but some upscale places would even serve fruits, antipasti, savoury pastries and more!

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Project 365 – Week 28

I am pondering, how is it that I seem to have less time to do everything that I want to do when the reality is that I should have more time? Have I taken on too much for myself to handle, or am I becoming less efficient nowadays, or what? I feel like I need to sit down and devise a better system for my personal research project but at the same time worry that this would be an even bigger time blackhole than how it already is. Tough.

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Carrot cupcakes

8 Jul: It has been a while since I baked. For my friend’s house-moving yesterday, I decided to whip up a large batch of carrot cupcakes to remember the day by, and to also feed the helpers who were set to shift her belongings some 900m away to the new apartment. To up the nuttiness ante, I used chopped hazelnut instead of the usual walnut. Topped it up with some cream cheese icing and we were good to go – gnom, gnom. These two were the last of the cupcakes when it occurred to me that I should at least take a photo or two!

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Dimension, Perception and Illusion at DYNAMO

You could say we were a wee bit late to the party. Grand Palais has been hosting DYNAMO since early April, and yet we have just been able to make a trip over to check it out this week. It’s like arriving when the last call for a drink had just been announced. Nonetheless, as one would say, better late than never.

Modern art, as a subject, often baffles me. If it had not been for Joan Miró – I felt an instant connection the first time I saw his work in Tate Modern, London – I doubt that I would even make an effort to try to understand modern art. DYNAMO explores the concept behind “a century of light and movement”, often involving an interpretation that combines dimension, perception and illusion, in a really fun way. Have a look.

DYNAMO Exhibition

DYNAMO Exhibition

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Project 365 – Week 3

If week 2 has been a tough one, motivation-wise, week 3 of Project 365 was the opposite. Thanks to a couple of late visits to catch temporary exhibitions that were closing, I found myself allocating some extra time before hand to grab some night photos. I also discovered unlikely photography spot from the very building I work in (!!!) and of course, there was the snowy weekend to round it up prettily.

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Grand Palais by night

14 Jan: It was the final evening of Bohèmes at the Grand Palais. Really, you’d think with a Sésame+, Frédéric and I would have seen this a couple of months back. But no, we kept delaying it. Frédéric even went to see Hopper thrice in the mean time. Just before joining the queue, I hied myself over the Pont Alexandre III to see if I would get a decent photo of the Grand Palais by night. Not bad, right?

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Paris sous la neige

Overnight, Paris underwent a most magnificent transformation.

I got up really early this morning, put on layers of clothes and headed out when it was still dark outside. The plan was to get to a couple of spots within the city where snow would not be cleared away too quickly, and while they were tourist-free. I should have a good couple of hours to try to grab some photos of a Parisian winter wonderland.

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

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Day 307: Pont Alexandre III

It seems the end of daylight savings is going to be very challenging for me from now on, at least for the next two months, in getting decent photos for Project 365. And you may be getting a lot of night shots too, which means I really would need to learn how to use and optimise the camera for low-light conditions and start carrying a baby tripod with me everywhere. It’s not the same now compared to earlier in the year, when my movement was not constrained by working hours.

My attempt today was tricky at best. It was slightly drizzly and I have forgotten my tripod. Still, moving on, I took myself towards Invalides and decided it could be nice to try to photograph Pont Alexandre III by night, in the direction of the Grand Palais. As I stood there, the drizzle became progressively heavier but I played on with various settings. I had to pack up when it started to pour. I thought I managed a decent shot but I’m still not particularly happy with this one because it’s not as “crisp” as I’d like it to be.

Day 300: Les péniches

Autumn colours have really bloom in the last few days. Last week when I passed this very same spot, there were speckles of orange and yellow, with a lot more green. But now, look at it, the leaves are burnt orange, ochre and golden in hues. Simply beautiful. Soon these trees would be stripped bare by nature though…

I like it how these péniches are so well lined up along the River Seine (at authorised quay sides of course), and the little touches the owners put to make them as homely as possible. In the horizon, Grand Palais looms large. It is currently hosting an exhibition of Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso… the Stein Family. Should be a good one, and I need to find time to go over.


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