In Paris, there is no shortage of contemporary art spaces, including Centre Pompidou, Le Cent Quatre, Palais de Tokyo and two of my favourites: La Maison Rouge and Fondation Cartier.
After almost a year of ‘renovation’, Le Palais de Tokyo reopened in April with La Triennale 2012 – Intense Proximité ( ends on 26th August), showcasing work by contemporary artists from France and beyond. The new expanded site is about three times larger than it used to be ( they have reopened the basement), making it the largest contemporary art space in Europe today. The architectural firm, Lacaton & Vassal, kept the rawness of the building, making it look very industrial, even though the original site was never industrial in the first place ( it was just neglected for decades).
There are many interesting touches allover the site, like the graffiti on the staircases’ wall, space invader mosaics by the entrance and window panels of comic-strip by Christian Marclay. Parts of the basement are bare, while some are used for video projections or installations.
Comic-strip windows and graffiti work
I am not a huge fan of contemporary art, nor do I like contemporary art museums like Tate Modern and MOMA very much, but I was quite drawn to the rawness of the ‘deconstructed’ Palais de Tokyo. Somehow, this style seems to make the work speak louder… even though I don’t always get some of the art work ( and I am sure I am not the only one).
By the entrance of the venue, there is a new exhibition called, “The Case of Pussy Riot”, showing a video of Pussy Riot‘s performance inside the Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, as well as comic strips and a documentary about the group. The prominence of this exhibition makes a loud statement and it is especially intriguing because the event is so recent and controversial.
Pussy Riot’s video and cartoon
With so many contemporary art work from around the world, I think the curators struggled to maintain the consistency of the exhibition. It was also quite exhausting to walk around the vast site esp. with no cafeteria to buy drinks or snacks. The restaurant, Tokyo Eat is no longer there and the terrace downstairs doesn’t serve much apart from alcohol, which is strange for an art venue that is the largest in Europe! However, I still look forward to seeing the forthcoming exhibitions and how the space will evolve in the future.
Le Palais de Tokyo – 13, avenue du Président Wilson, 75 116 Paris