Atelier Brancusi

This place was on my “must see” list for a while. Finally, I visited Centre Pompidou’s Atelier Brancusi – a standalone pavillon dedicated to Constantin Brancusi‘s work. Born in Romania in 1876, Brancusi lived and worked in Paris from 1904 until his death in 1957, and this is where he produced most of his forever-inspiring work. In his will, he bequeathed his entire studio to the French state. Brancusi considered the relationship between sculptures and the space they occupied to be of crucial importance. In the 1910s, by laying sculptures out in a close spatial relationship, he created new works within the studio which he called “mobile groups“, stressing the importance of the connections between the works themselves and the possibilities of each for moving around within the group. In the next decades, the studio became an exhibition space for his work, and a work of art in its own right: a body consisting of cells that all generated each other. This experience of looking from within the studio at each of the sculptures, thus perceiving a group of spatial relationships, led Brancusi to revise their positions every day to achieve the unity he felt most apposite.At the end of his life, Brancusi stopped creating sculptures and focused solely on their relationship within the studio. This proximity became so fundamental that the artist no longer wanted to exhibit, and when he sold a work, he replaced it with plaster copy so as not to destroy the unity of the group. The present reconstruction, built by the architect Renzo Piano, is presented as a museum space containing the studio. Piano’s problem lay in making the space open to the public while respecting the artist’s wishes. While the architect did not attempt to recreate the intimacy of the original, he preserved the idea of a protected, interiorised space where visitors are isolated from the street and the piazza, in particular by an enclosed garden, from which part of the studio can be seen through a glass wall. I’ve spent there about 30 minutes, trying to absorb as much as possible with my eyes. And I went out feeling as relaxed as after a lovely spa.

Photos of the exhibition by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Astier De Villatte

World renowned Astier De Villatte create their charming, one of a kind ceramics, pottery, candles and glassware in an antique Bastille workshop in Paris. Best known for their 18th and 19th century inspired handmade ceramics, Astier de Villatte have been making their ceramics here since 1996. Founded by Benoit Astier de Villatte and Ivan Pericoli, they continue to follow in the tradition of the great 18th century Parisian ceramic studios. Drawing inspiration from the history of decorative arts, folk art and abandoned objects, their team of twenty ceramicists make every piece of pottery by hand. Using traditional techniques passed down through the generations, everything in their exquisite range is totally unique. Sculpted out of black terracotta, each ceramic is then finished with a milky glaze to emphasise the character and imperfections of the clay. No two Astier de Villatte products are the same. Alongside their ceramics, Astier de Villatte make scented hand care products, incense and candles. Their Serena Carone mugs (see the above photo) are on my wishlist.

173 rue Saint-Honore

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Betty Catroux at Musée YSL

When walking down the streets of Paris, you just can’t miss the street posters promoting the current exhibition at Musée Yves Saint Laurent. A naked woman sits on a sofa, with her icy blonde hair and big sunglasses. It’s of course the iconic Betty Catroux. In 2020, the YSL museum is devoting a special exhibition to Catroux, the one and only Saint Laurent “female double.” The pieces displayed in the exhibition come from a major donation Betty Catroux has made to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent back in 2002. The museum gave Anthony Vaccarello (Saint Laurent’s creative director) carte blanche for curating this event. The designer approached Betty Catroux’s wardrobe from an aesthetic perspective by selecting the pieces that best reveal her unique personality and ongoing influence on the label’s signature style. “She lives and breathes Saint Laurent. An allure, a mystery, an almost nefarious aspect, an elusive yet desirable nature, all that underlies the house’s aura, and you understand the magnitude of it when you meet Betty.” That elusive aura is perceivable all over the space. Approximately fifty designs show the extent to which Betty Catroux embodied Yves Saint Laurent’s physical ideal and an attitude echoing the “masculine/feminine style” that he was developing when they first met at the nightclub The New Jimmy’s in 1967. Yves immediately fell in love with her androgynous look, which was radically different from the usual codes of femininity and seductiveness and remains the subject of ongoing fascination. Below are some photos I took during my visit. To read more about the museum, here’s the post I wrote about the place when I was here about a year ago.

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Daniel Arsham at Galerie Perrotin

Although Daniel Arsham‘s exhibition “Paris, 3020” at Galerie Perrotin closed few days ago, I think it’s still worth writing about it. For his solo exhibition, the renowned, contemporary artist presented a new suite of large-scale sculptures based on iconic busts, friezes and sculptures in the round from classical antiquity. Over the past year, Arsham has been granted unprecedented access to the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais (RMN), a 200-year-old French molding atelier that reproduces masterpieces for several of Europe’s major encyclopedic museums. Arsham was able to use molds and scans of some of the most iconic works from the collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the San Pietro in Vincoli as source material for this new body of work. Interested in the way that objects move through time, the works selected by Arsham are so iconic that they have eclipsed their status as mere art object, and instead have embedded themselves into our collective memory and identity. Ranging from Michelangelo’s Moses to the Vénus de Milo, each item was cast in hydrostone to produce a perfect to scale replica of the original sculpture, a process that shares formal qualities with historic wax casting. Arsham utilizes natural pigments that are similar to those used by classical sculptors, such as volcanic ash, blue calcite, selenite, quartz, and rose quartz. From that, individual erosions are chiseled into the surface of the hydrostone, a nod to the sculpting techniques of the Renaissance sculptors. Finally, Arsham applies his signature tactic of crystallization (which has distinct, organic appearance). Making use of classical and ancient objects, this new body of work experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols, furthering Arsham’s previous investigations into “objecthood”.

76 rue de Turenne

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Paris in Bloom

Paris is blooming! No other tune comes to my mind when I think of the beautiful, Parisian spring. “Heaven Scent” by Soulwax and Chloë Sevigny is the ultimate mood.

Send me your majestic rain of roses
So that I may share your grace
Bless me with blooms of lily
Blooms of violet
Blooms of buttercups
Blooms of lilac
Blooms of jasmine
Blooms of hyacinth
Blooms of honeysuckle
Blooms of magnolia
Blooms of gardenia
Blooms of tuberose
Let fall from Heaven, please,
The Shower of Flowers
Let me be anointed with the splendor of their perfumed essence
So that I may see the face of God
In all people, and in all experiences.

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Saint Tropez

Everybody’s heard of Saint Tropez, but the stereotype we all know is quite misleading. It’s imagined to be a sort of place you learn about through the amniotic murk – an iconic coastal town barnacled with Mediterranean hedonism. But to be honest, in fact this place is rather calm and peaceful. At least off-season. With its rolling countryside, long, golden beaches, and breathtaking light, Saint-Tropez is one of the French Riviera’s most gorgeous destinations. This picturesque peninsula on the Côte d’Azur still embraces its history as a quiet fishing village and artists’ enclave – it lured painters such as Henri Matisse long before it was made famous by legendary beauty Brigitte Bardot, who has called it a “little nook of paradise.” Here are the two places I’ve especially loved in this town:

The Dior Villa. If you read my site for a while, then you know I’m not a Dior person (especially Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior). But somehow, in Saint Tropez, it all clicked – the intricately embroidered eveningwear, the pearl jewellery, the glassware… this is the French way. And of course loved the delightfully furnished store, which as well serves coffee in its yard.

13 Rue François Sibilli

Lots of huge, old cypress trees and yes, Brigitte Bardot is everywhere…

L’Atelier 55 specialises in vintage, restored design and it has a branch of stores located in Paris, Megève and other French destinations. Their boutique in Saint Tropez is kept in matching, Mediterranean style and its filled with original 1960s posters, Pierre Jeanneret armchairs and plates illustrated by Jean Cocteau. The staff here knows pretty much everything about 20th century French design, so you can always treat this place like a sort of encyclopedia. And if you’re planning to move to Saint Tropez… you know where to get your furniture!

29 Boulevard Louis Blanc

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Èze / Côte D’Azur

In craggy cliffs high above the sea, the medieval village of Èze is a delightful step back in time. The well-preserved stone buildings, winding alleyways, 14th-century chapels, and dramatic Mediterranean backdrop make this tiny village seem like a movie set. The views are best earned by taking one of the many hiking trails, like the famous Nietzsche path, that connect the the town and the summit, which sits 1,400 feet above sea level. At the top, you’ll discover the town’s medieval fortress, which you may recognize from Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief”, surrounded by the Jardin Exotique, a desert garden brimming with succulents and exotic florals. The wonderful sea breeze is another reason to get up here!

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Fondation Maeght / Côte d’Azur

Visiting this place has always been my dream. Fondation Maeght is France’s most important private art foundation and among the world-leading cultural institutions. It was created by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, a visionary couple of publishers and art dealers, who represented and were friends with some of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall and many others. The Maeght Foundation was inaugurated back in 1964 and instantly became the new art mecca. Located near the famous village of Saint-Paul de Vence the foundation is situated in the incredible architectural complex designed by Josep Lluís Sert. Painters and sculptors worked in collaboration with the Catalan architect to create a place where art, nature and architecture blend in perfect harmony. The Foundation’s highlights include the Giacometti courtyard (remember Louis Vuitton’s resort 2019 collection? It was staged right here!), featuring an exceptional ensemble of sculptures by the Swiss artist, the Miró labyrinth, a whimsical sculpture garden by the Catalan artist, monumental mural mosaics by Marc Chagall and Pierre Tal Coat, a pool designed by Georges Braque as well as a mechanical fountain designed by Pol Bury. Visitors can also enjoy the sculpture garden, with a rotating selection of works by Calder, Takis, Miro, Arp and other, two rooftop terraces with spectacular views, exhibition galleries hosting temporary exhibition as well as selected works from the permanent collection, a consecrated chapel and a library. Looking back at the photos I took there, I still can feel this unique combination of nature and silence meeting some of my all time favourite artists (that created the appealing aura of Côte d’Azur).

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Saint Paul De Vence / Côte d’Azur

As you go north from Antibes, a place you have to visit is Saint-Paul de Vence. In this village located at the top of a hill, you should of course see the Fondation Maeght (a separate post on this art oasis is coming up shortly!). If you want to continue with the art path, why not see the authentic Matisse or Picasso at the legendary La Colombe d’Or? You can find it in the heart of Saint-Paul: it’s a real secret garden with original works given to the owner by the artists as payments for meals. It’s worth giving the village around an hour if you’re by car: its centre is overcrowded with touristic “art galleries” and restaurants, so the most important is the postcard-like, medieval, stone architecture that seems to be untouched by time.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.