Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fall as Winter

Île St Louis in the Fall is now St Louis in the winter. hm. 
Being in the States is thoroughly surreal. As I reintegrate myself back into my former life, there is a subtle shift in taste, space, and time. Things are overly sweet and salty. The personal ‘bubble’ trained by the metropolitan to be fairly small and sensitive to the spaces of others is incensed by the loud conversations of people at a distance. Time as it is intrinsically linked to mobility, and more specifically transportation, runs the risk in St Louis of impatience and laziness. One reality of Paris city living is walking and lots of it. Exercise (as well as art) is embedded into the day to day. It isn’t a choice. And that is the difference. Paris makes it easy to live well. In St. Louis, it must be constructed and constantly arbored. Goal: transplant qualities of this ulterior lifestyle into a convincing American alternative.

November in Paris was the best and worst of the residency. The farther from fall, the colder it became...;) 
Some of the Good:

Virginia introduced me to some just plain weird and thrilling performance pieces including Steven Cohen’s "The Cradle of Humankind" at Pompidou. As part of Festival d'Automne a Paris, I saw Cecilia Bengolea and Francois Chaignaud in Castor and Pollux. (
The audience entered a theater shrouded in a yellow haze, directed to the stage littered with pillows and blankets. The whole piece was aerial, the audience inhabiting the stage, the stage now the revealed bones of the working theater. 

 In late November, I did an installation piece with materials collected at the pleating studio and Les Puces. The piece, titled “Guan Yin”, is at La Porte Peinte in Noyers-sur-Serein. It is part of a group show opening December 10th



This installation was hands down the best gallery experience that I have had. Respectful, understanding, not competitive, and encouraging.  The residency, owner, and other residents were so welcoming… and American…and from California! Noyers is a beautiful little town about 2 hours outside of Paris, many medieval-era structures (including the residency building).  On a walk around town, we even came across one particular residence that was built in 1470. 1470?! Like pre-Columbus! "The village" (as it is called by it's residents), was shrouded in darkness and a blissful quite. This is the type of silence that reverberates against walls and roads and bodies. It hums a monotone B flat deep inside you, so every interruption, heels on the cobblestones or barking dog intrudes on the loud silence. Upon arrival, we were promptly invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. The village thanksgiving dinner.. with 35 guests.... Fantastic, romantic, yummy, generous. I met some just plain rad folks, some Berkeley people and a couple from Portland (which just makes me want to move there all the more!). The next morning, we woke up to the peaceful streets of this little village accosted by hoards of visitors for a bi-annual truffle festival. 

Back in Paris with just a few days left, I returned to the pleating studio to pick up a final batch of materials and attend a sale hosted by the studio where I bought some fantastic antique “clothing hardware”, lace, and pre-pleating material.  At the studio Bryan and I met the pre-eminent specialist in feathers, Jean-Louis Pinabel!  We bought a few accessoires de mode of his design, mostly for Bryan to sell, but I bought one particular piece that I'm saving for my next opening:). I am thrilled to tuck-in to my new materials. Since being back, I’ve inventoried the lot and packed it away until I set up my new studio.

A few additional highlights from the month:
I went to England for a weekend, and had a total blast with my cousin Sara while visiting her in Brighton. I saw a Gerard Ritcher retrospective (sculptural works?!), hit up Brick street for some delic indian street food and vintage clothing, went to the Victoria and Albert twice, the fashion museum, and Liberty of London. 

I twice visited the Yayoi Katsuma retrospective at Pompidou(“infinity nets”), an Edvard Munch retrospective (watercolors illustrating a hemorrhage in the eye of the artist), Jean-Paul Goude retrospective at Les Arts Decoratifs, and evolution and anatomy museum at the Jardin des Plantes, Pere Lachais Cemetery and Sainte Chapelle.

                                                                   Munch at Pompidou 

                                                                   Yayoi at Pompidou

                                                       Pere Lachaise with Gertrude Stein

                                                            Sainte Chapelle with Bryan

                                                  Bat Skeleton at the Museum of Anatomy

                                                            At the Louvre with Ingres

                                                                     Goude at Decoratifs

                                                                   Me and B in Tulleries 

                                                              Foundation Le Coubusier

                                                Hussein Chalayan's table and chair dresses

                                      17th Century Charles Boulle mirror at Les Arts Decoratifs 

                                                                Outside Les Invalides

                            Les Puces

               Holiday Festival "Illuminations" on the Champs with Belgium Waffles and Hot Wine

I also had the opportunity to pitch my work and ideas to someone in marketing at Dior and Mod Art. Great learning experiences, great incentive to push it.  While November was a challenge in someways, (I was significally more homesick, tired of the inhospitality (hostility?) of some of the French, tight on funds and then mourning the loss of my grandmother who passed away mid-month) -- in retelling the so-so parts, the lonliness (heftily abated by Bryan coming!) was overcome by the more than good. I intend to add a few more blog entries including pieces from fiac!. Thanks to everyone that supported and encouraged me before and durning the residency. To Wash U faculty and friends who advised my on my proposal, to those who visited me in Paris, to those who understood that they should not so I could work, to Cindy and Virginia my Paris support team, to my parents. Thanks so much everyone! To those of you who are applying now, the view from the Wash U Paris apartment: