Sunday, February 7, 2010

La Grand Panier des Personnes

If you thought you had a big load of laundry, think again. Christian Boltanski's new installation: Personnes, hosted by the Grand Palais in Paris, is quite simply, of monumental proportions. Fitting in size as it is the third installation of the Ministry of Culture and Communication's new MONUMENTA annual event. This must-see piece is a powerful physical and psychological experience. Without giving away too much of what this installation is (I'll let my photos do that), the piece is set in the massive Grand Palais, which in itself is an experience to be taken in (think greenhouse the size of a football stadium), where 69 rectangles of clothing, methodically placed, line the entire floor, each lit by a fluorescent tube. Emanating from the rectangles is the sound of heartbeats, each beating to their own rhythm, creating a sensational experience as you walk thru the aisles of clothes (kind of like a super-sale at Value Village!)

The culmination of these rectangles is a massive (MASSIVE) mound of clothes that at just the sight of, would make any washer and dryer tremble -next to my dirties that is. Above this awesome pile of garments looms a menacing claw, towering over, hoisted up by a crane. Every so often, the claw descends upon the heap and seizes an unlucky few (some managing to escape it's grip before being raised up)- clutched up only to be released at the apex of the Palais to fall back onto the pile, gracefully dancing thru the sky at the sound of an ever-ominous droning of a heartbeat.

But what does this all mean? I'm not going to try an answer that, partially because I don't think I'm qualified to, and partially because I believe, as cliché as it may be, that art is to be interpreted by the viewer themselves; it is the relationship between the subject and the object which is the defining aspect. However, I will leave you with a quote by Boltanski himself, as to what he was trying to communicate with Personnes (incidentally literally meaning both "people" and "nobodies":

"(...) from a certain age you have the sense of permanently crossing a mine field, you see others dying around you, whereas, for no good reason, you remain, up to the moment where you get blown up in your own turn. Such is the subject of Personnes".

1 comment:

  1. Dan, I am enjoying your blog. I didn't realise you were such a talented writer. i am trying to master the blog so I hope this commen t gets to you. Your mother and I are in Cozumel until March 7. It's a beautiful day here, T.75F. I brought my computer and so can stay intouch. Our love to you both. PS Don't forget to visit Musee d'Orsay and the Rodin museum.