Art All Night

Last Saturday night some friends and I took advantage of Nuit Blanche, one of my favorite events in Paris.  From about 6pm to 7am, there are art installations and exhibits all over the city, free to the public.

We started out at Place de la République, which was transformed into “Fog Square” by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya.  The square was very crowded when I arrived around 9pm.  Clearly it was a popular meeting point.  Walking around the square was an experience; every so often, a blanket of fog was emitted from several locations, and for a moment you couldn’t see anything but the haze in front of you.  As the fog slowly cleared, people’s silhouettes became visible.  It felt very film noir.

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ImageAfter we hit up a few galleries and saw some bizarre contemporary video art, I headed to La Samaritaine, a now closed department store that was the peer of the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps from the mid-1800s until it shut down in 2005.  For one night, part of it was open to the public for a photo exhibit.  I was very curious to see the interior of this beautiful building that I first visited in 2002, while the department store was still open.

ImageInside, the space was completely stripped down.  The sheetrock of the unpainted walls was exposed, and all doors were removed to reveal niches that used to contain machinery or other inner workings.

Can you guess what these used to be?

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There was also a video projection of undulating blue waves next to the once striking staircases in the center of the department store.  Visitors could stand on the iridescent waves, which were quite mesmerizing.

ImageTo have a nuit blanche means that you stay up all night.  I walked home around 2am. Maybe next time I’ll nap all day and attempt a 7pm to 7am art marathon.

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