Guest-post: See the unseen

I have great pleasure to offer my blog to a guest writer, Anna Riedel, who – upon reading a press release on the newest exhibition at Louis Vuitton Espace Culturel in Paris – decided to plan her weekend around the theme of art. Here is the account of her stay in the capital of France. Hope you enjoy reading this post just as much as I have. Anna, thank you for a great write-up!
imageMural street art at Centre Pompidou, Paris
Not often do you decide to spend your money to do something that is strictly connected to your work. It’s obviously much more probable if you love your job (which is my case) but still… When you do decide to take some time off, you tend to look for places and attractions that don’t scream: ASAP or URGENT on every corner. But not me… not this time. What many people do not know about Louis Vuitton is that it has exhibition venues called Espaces in different cities around the world: Paris, Tokio, Venice, Singapur and (recently added) Munich. The Espaces are art galleries with fully autonomous art curators who put together spectacular contemporary art exhibitions.
The moment I received information concerning upcoming exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Espace in Paris I knew I had to be there. So, as soon as the idea got my boss’s blessing, I booked a plane ticket for my 4 day trip to Paris. I love the city to bits, so as far as I’m concerned, Paris IS actually always a good idea… I guess I was also longing for a delicious croissant and coffee breakfast anyway, and I just needed a proper excuse to go and get it. One of the things I love most about Paris is the blooming street art. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can see many different forms of art, from “off the wall” wisdom like “L’amour est mort” quotes to mesmerizing graffiti and intriguing pop-art murals. All you have to do is keep your eyes wide open and then, when you least expect it, you may just find an inconspicuous little piece of art.
imagePortrait of Serge Gainsbourg – mural fan art on the wall of his house in Paris
photo 3Random street art – Montmartre

I am not a big fan of the so called high end modern art, but funnily enough, what has brought me to Paris this particular time was in fact – art at its finest. The exhibition that has pushed my “OK let’s do this!” button was Astralis, which is another term for invisible and was said to “conjure up celestial, elusive, and otherworldly themes.” From that line on I was sold. I am a big fan of Discovery Science programs, so as long as it says “stars”, ‘universe”, or “imperceptible” I’m in. And such was the case with Astralis. Inspired by the poem of Novalis (German author from the19th century) the exhibition presents the journey of the soul. It questions our being and presents us with an artistic outlook on human beliefs and emotions concerning life and death. It takes on the matter of passing by, showing all our pitiful attempts of understanding life and overcoming the limitations of our existence.

If you decide to go see it, you will come across (above many other stunning pieces) some of my favorites, such as:

Four vertical oil paintings on canvas named: life, death, time and le sud de paradis (literally “south of heaven” or hell on earth) by Damien Deroubaix (presented in a room with a centerpiece sculpture in the middle of a black carpet floor and a trompe l’oeil ceiling painting). Taxidermisted Japanese nightingale with keys, golden chains and glass ornaments in the shape of tears – an installation named Des rires, des larmes, des etoiles by Miriam Mechita. Charley Case Cosmic Lodge Installation inspired by the native American Inipi – sacred ceremony of the Lakota people.

Affiche_60x80_FINALAstralis exhibition poster

Charley Case
Cosmic Lodge by Charley Case
I could go on forever explaining what the exhibition is all about, or copy-paste many memorable quotes from the beautiful album I kept as a souvenir of my trip, but I am a firm believer of the concept that art should be, above all, felt – not explained. So I will let you google the facts, and just tell you this – The most amazing thing about Astralis is that it leaves you with a certain unease and calmness at the same time. It does something amazing, what art should be doing but sadly – rarely does. It will not shock you, it is not provocative in any way, it doesn’t scare you or disgust you… it does none of the above, yet it triggers off all your emotions and leaves you spiritually haunted, in a truly magical way…
Go see it. It’s worth it.
Artists: ART ORIENTE OBJET (Marion LAVAL JEANTET and Benoit MANGIN), David ALTMEJD, Rina BANERJEE, BASSERODE, Charley CASE, Damien DEROUBAIX, Jean-Luc FAVERO, Vidya GASTALDON, Siobhŕn HAPASKA, Myriam MECHITA, Chloé PIENE, Břrre SAETHRE.Curator: Pascal Pique for Musée de l’Invisible.
Cool fact: You can visit all exhibitions at Espace Louis Vuitton free of charge and leave with a wonderfully published album, presenting the featured art pieces and information on their authors.