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I’ve been walking around for days now telling all my friends and associates that I actually know people who exhibited their art work in the Carrousel of the Louvre. The thing about it? It’s true. Last Sunday, October 15, in conjunction with Expatica, the IVY Artists group, which is sponsored by Bonapart Consulting, did indeed take over a part of what is arguably the world’s most famous museum. I crawled out of bed that day, pushed through the guide-book carrying tourists and ventured over there with my son.
I’m glad I did.
The expo occupied the space that is part of the extension of the reception area of the Louvre museum, in an historic architectural area revealing the city’s 14th-century ramparts. “It was these historical elements that influenced the choice of materials in the foyer where our exhibition was (burgundy stone, white architectural concrete) and it was a beautiful "canvas" to work with,” said IVY Paris organizer, Susie Hollands.
There were 25 artists there celebrating contemporary abstraction, realism, new photography and performance. “We’ve always been a hub and network for artists – both French and International – in Paris,” said Hollands, who’s also a conceptual artist.
I walked around, once again proud and amazed at the brilliant expat art available in Paris and on display there at this phenomenal place, the Louvre. I wasn’t at all surprised by the enormous talent filling the space. In case you didn’t know, these are the same artists who held an exhibition in La Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Pitié-Salpêtrière last spring. I spoke to several of them as I was terribly curious to know how it felt to have their work on display in such a venerable place.
First up was artist Matt Anzak,an abstract painter who hails from Dallas, Texas. Anzak didn’t let the fact that someone over at the airport lost all his work while trying to make it here, get him down. By the time I saw him, it had all been found and was pleasantly gracing our presence. When I asked him what he thought about being in the Louvre, he said “It’s exciting. I was in disbelief at first when I was getting all my stuff together to come out here.”
It’s a good thing he made it. It’s easy to see that creativity is rampant in his soul. When asked about it, he admitted as much. “I really do believe you can find truth through work, through creativity. I do painting, sculpture and body work. I’ve shown with IVY Paris before, and I hope to have a studio here soon.”
We hope so too.
I spoke to Rachel Rodgers next, who my son instantly fell in love with (he’s only three years old but in France, I think they start early). Rachel is a photographer herself, but for this event, was representing Susan Von Detten, another photographer from Los Angeles.
Apparently, Von Detten is having a love affair with Paris and this romance comes through beautifully in her photos. Von Detten tries to show her work here as much as possible and Rachel has also been the subject of her photography. “I really love the style. I’ve worked with her as an artist model as well. We have a common bond with our work.”
After you’ve studied the picture (Rachel’s the beautiful model lying down at the River Seine), you’ll understand why my son is still talking about her and Von Detten one week later.
Frances Powell, a.k.a. DJ Wise, is a former colleague of mine, from my very early days in Paris, but I’d no idea then that he was a brilliant undercover (at least to me) painter, writer, and musician. “Being here is really bizarre, but I guess a place is a place and a space is a space. All in all, I love it,” he told me.
One of the most unforgettable moments was sticking my head inside Cesar Estay Herrera’s box. Yeah, you read that correctly. Herrera, who was born and raised in Chili, had a 21st century sound exhibit, with the interior designed by Mario Saundez, a young man who was born in Paris but has Chilean ancestry as well.
Upon first glance, this exhibit looked like a cardboard box with just a curtain hung over it, but once you stuck your head inside; you were instantly transported to another place and time: Chili. “It’s the link between native Chileans and their other life here in Paris,” Saundez explained. As I listened to Herrera’s striking sounds, I was able to study what Saundez had strategically placed inside the box—dolls wearing native gear, newspapers, and other cultural images from Chili. The images, together with the riveting music? In a word or two, very powerful.
The day afterwards when I asked Hollands what she thought about it all, she said: “The exhibition of the 25 I V Y Paris artists at the Louvre went really well and we got some great feedback from the organizers. I felt very privileged to show my work there and I had some great feedback, which is an important reason to participate in exhibitions.”
And we felt privileged to attend.
So what’s next for this group of audacious IVY Paris artists? A Vernissage on October 24th for “Show Off”, an alternative art fair formed this year.
For more information about it and future IVY Paris events, check out their website.
Bio: Originally from Alabama, Priscilla Lalisse has been living in Paris since 1999. Her very personal articles often chronicle the French experience through American eyes. Priscilla is also the author of STOCKDALE, a novel published in 2005. For more information, please go to www.priscillalalisse.com.