Nuit Blanche Paris 2011: 2 weeks ago, I was there. But I haven’t written about it. This is odd. My world has always come down to words. Nothing is fully real until I have wrangled the experience into words, even if only in my head. But that night was visceral, full of images and sound. These have been zinging around and also simply percolating in my mind.
The thing itself was a stepping-out of my comfort zone. The Man couldn’t go as he was at sea trying to do science. Our friends in Paris are new parents and not yet availing themselves of Babysitter. So, armed with Paris Transit Guide, the event brochure, and a pocketful of Metro Carnet, but no iPhone (yet!), I struck off into the night… all by myself.
And it was good! Wandering alone through pulsating crowds in the City of Light, I could linger over the captivating bits and never mind the exhibits which didn’t interest me. The giant loop of VCR tape ~12′ or more in diameter~ being held aloft, dancing gracefully in a church, by 6 large fans was fascinating, but didn’t photograph well. In fact, most of the pieces didn’t. Perhaps with a great video camera one could capture the movement of some and the sound of others, but truly it was an immediate experience for the senses. To be in the moment, connecting with the artist’s intention (or not… such is the way of art), is the point and purpose of the night.
So here are just a few shots of one of my favorites. The gallery around a courtyard within a school building held an installation of butterflies, black paper butterflies looking like so much ivy crawling, growing up the walls and columns, across the ceiling.
After running out of steam myself and believing I was running out of dark ~it is somehow that much worse to be laying down as the sun is coming up~ I had to forego a few things which still looked fun. But it was a full and satisfying night.
In the middle of a great weekend, in fact! I did my best to slide into the family’s usual routine and just soak up the normalcy of it all. We went to parks ~including Jardin du Luxembourg~ grocery shopping at La Grande Épicerie au Bon Marche~ cooked in and ate at home around the table; this, of course, after my welcome of Thai take-away within minutes of my arrival in Rue Rousselet. Mme J had graciously sent me the menu so I might place my order with them before I left home. Studying the menu, knowing I was going to be eating anything I wanted from it in just 24 hours, was the first pleasure of the trip. It was also the simplest of errands to acquire proper guache to
replace supplement the mutant acrylic guache I had ordered on-line for the sumi brush script workshop last month. Something in my artist’s heart swelled as I wandered around, conversing with the shopkeeper in my barely-extant French, acquiring easily what I went in for, and picking one more sumi on impulse simply because it looked so exquisite. There was also a visit to Mariage Frères and an extravagant investment in fantabulous tea, including the Limited Edition Full Moon Party Noir. When Monsieur J whiffed of it, his response was, “Wow. There’s a whole lot going on in there.” Yes, yes there is. And I will relish every drop of it, along with my resupply of Russian Breakfast, my affinity for which M. J is wholly responsible (I won’t say addiction where others might because I don’t take the word lightly, but that is a dissertation for another day). Oh, I did make a pass through the Apple store for the Man, only days too soon to lay hands on my aforementioned new iPhone.
And so we have it; Thai food to soothe my deprivation, good friend/familyish time to feed my soul, a full night of art and bravery, excellent tea for many mornings to come, and art supplies to keep the creativity sparking and flowing; time which could not have been better spent.