Aside from Paris Photo, I wanted to engage with more art and photography whilst I was in Paris.
I had done a bit of research, trying to tie in the interests of the group I knew I would be travelling with and we decided pretty quickly on itineraries and exhibitions we wanted to visit.
Mary hadn’t been to the Musee D’orsay (or Paris in fact) so we started off there, a whistle stop tour through the main rooms. A lot of the wings were actually closed off for another big exhibition being installed, which wasn’t included in any prior information I had read, so we were a bit miffed at not being able to engage with some of the eras of art we wanted to.
It didn’t feel very relevant to what we were in Paris to see and although an incredible museum we all agreed after about an hour to leave.
After this we moved over to the Tuileries Gardens, visiting L’orangerie for Monet’s waterlilies, which was a perfect piece of calm in amongst the very hectic city and experience of Paris.
Jeu De Paume across the gardens was hosting a Peter Hujar show, alongside Zineb Sedira. Peter Hujar’s exhibition was just stunning and so well curated, and for a photographer that I had no prior knowledge of, I absolutely fell in love.
The depth and breadth of his work covered decades of his life, and the curation of this was so well done for the space it was in. I had previously visited Jeu De Paume to see a Sally Mann retrospective and to see the space changed so dramatically was so great to recognise, especially in how the curation of the room affected how I viewed and walked through each body of work.
Hujar’s work was easily as intimate as it was daring and bold, and all of us visiting very much agreed it was striking, his portraits bridging a gap between viewer and moment it was taken, engaging with some of the biggest names of the creative industry at the time. It gave a glimpse into a way of life that is unknown to so many viewers seeing the work, I can hardly imagine how some of the work was received when originally published.
Zineb Sedira’s work baffled me and I feel that it would have taken a lot more background information and time to really consume the large amount of imagery and installation on display. I felt like this was a shame because it was easily accessible in the space, yet felt very far away in reading and understanding all the different elements.
In researching her after seeing the work I find it much easier to engage with the appropriate context, which I didn’t feel able to grasp when I was there.
I loved the fact that she brought her actual living room into the space, again crossing that barrier of the intimate yet bold and daring in decision making. (In all honesty I just really love her interior design skills…)