Thursday, May 7, 2009
2 Shows to See if You're in Paris
There are a couple of shows going on in Paris currently that il faut voir! The master printmaker, poet and mystic, William Blake (1757-1827) has a show of his engravings at le Petit Palais (avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris). Blake's work is not often on display, so this is a rare opportunity to see his beautiful and bold work. The show is open until the 28th of June. Blake illustrated his own poems, for example Tiger Tiger Burning Bright: Tiger, Tiger, burning bright In the forest of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? An interesting note on this particular poem: if you recite it to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, you find that it is the same rhythm. This was pointed out to me years ago by a Blake scholar. I leave it to you to figure out why. Alexander Calder, the mobile artist, an American who lived for many years in France, has his work on display at the Pompidou Center (by locals known as the Beaubourg). His work is also very rarely in museums, especially his circus, which is utterly delightful. He studied to be an engineer before devoting his life to his exteemly clever art. The circus, which he created while living in France during the '20s, draws on his understanding of mechanics. His wire sculptures are also deceptively simple but very skillfully realized. They move and cast shadows. It's well-worth finding the film, Le Cirque de Calder (1961) and seeing the wonderful performance of Calder's circus by the artist. You can view it on-line at http://www.ubu.com/film/calder.html The entire circus is at the Beaubourg until July 20th along with a lot of other fabulous Calder creations.