New and Unique in Paris: The Atelier des Lumières

The Atelier des Lumières opened its doors on 13 April in the trendy 11th arrondissement of Paris in a huge renovated industrial building. The place used to be a foundry covering an area of more than 3000 m2 during almost 100 years from 1835. Due to the international crisis the Plichon Brothers foundry closed in 1929 and the site was sold to a company specialized in tool manufacturing. The company closed in 2000 and the building was unused when it was discovered by Cuturespaces in 2013. This cultural business is well-known in France for its innovative and high-quality running of remarkable natural sites or historical buildings. Among the most famous: the Musée Jacquemart André in Paris or the Carrières de Lumière in the Baux de Provence.

The Atelier des Lumières in Paris is based on the same purpose as the Carrières de Lumière in the Baux de Provence and aims to offer to the public an impressive Art and Music Immersive Experience in a unique decor. There one does not look at an art work, one does not read about a picture or an artist but one is immerged into his time, life and works. Hundreds of cameras project thousands of images on the walls as well as on the floor.

Atelier des lumieres-Paris-Hundertwasser
Atelier des lumieres-Paris-Hundertwasser

One gets acquainted with the artist and his art works through the immersion into the images and the music. One lives the works and walks in the middle of them. The show is different on each section of wall, there is one image after the other in a riot of colours and sounds. One can either walk through the various spaces of the former foundry; stand or sit on a concrete seat, a stair or directly on the floor. And the show will depend on the place from which one looks at it, there is an infinity of combinations and one can see the same programme several times without having the same experience.

For its opening the Atelier des Lumières presents three successive exhibitions: a major immersive exhibition on Gustave Klimt; a short programme on Hundertwasser, a Viennese artist contemporary of Klimt; and an even shorter modern creation. The shows starts with Gustav Klimt…

The three programmes are shown continuously and one can stay as long as one wish. I looked at them twice with much pleasure… and I wish I had more time to stay and watch Hundertwasser a third time: so beautiful!

Such an unusual exhibition place is easier to describe with pictures rather than words… and even pictures only give a slight idea of what it is in reality. If you have never been to the Carrières de Lumière in the Baux de Provence, no doubt that you will be even more dazzled and surprised than me! As the first time is really amazing. And one more piece of advice: better avoid the weekends or the school holidays as the experience is more impressive when the site is not too crowded. I hope you will enjoy your visit!

Atelier des lumieres-Paris-Poetic AI
Atelier des lumieres-Paris-Poetic AI

Practical information : Atelier des Lumières – 38 rue Saint Maur 75011 – Exhibition Gustav Klimt – Until 31 December 2018 – 10am-6pm (10pm on fridays and saturdays)

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog – www.goodmorningparis.fr

Exhibition Ceija Stojka in Paris: So beautiful and striking!

A beautiful and striking exhibition is taking place at the Maison rouge in Paris until 20 May. For the first time in Paris the works of Ceija Stojka are exhibited. She is a Romani Austrian artist born in 1933. At the age of ten she had been deported with her family and survived three concentration camps. Many years later, when she was 55, she began to express her memories through writing, drawing and painting. She died in 2013.

In her poetic texts as well as in her naïf paintings one can hear in the same time the child and the mature woman who remembers. Ceija Stojka makes us live her carefree childhood in a gipsy caravan; her survival in concentration camps till the liberation of Bergen-Belsen; and her return to life and freedom, as if we were next to her. Her works are a vibrant voice for the culture, deportation and present condition of Roma. I had not seen such a beautiful and deeply moving exhibition for long!

In our gipsy caravan

The first room is dedicated to the carefree life of Roma before the war, a carefreeness and freedom that they will never regain : bright colours, idyllic landscapes, cheerful words…

The Hunt

The following room is called: ‘La Traque’. Several paintings show Ceija and her brothers and sisters hiding themselves in a garden in Vienna. One can see only their frightened eyes…

Auschwitz: 31 March-June 1944

From the third room no more carefreeness. Ceija Stojka had been deported to Auschwitz with her mother, brothers and sisters in March 1944. Her paintings now show huge black boots, flags with swastikas, huts surrounded by barbed wire, dead bodies, chimneys and crows…

Ravensbrück: June-December 1944

The next room is called: Ravensbrück. Ceija, her mother and her sister Kathi were moved and deported in the women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück in June 1944, only two months before the terrible liquidation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Gipsy camp (2 August). Whether in Black & White or in colours the paintings referring to that period are deeply moving, and ‘les femmes de Ravansbrück’ is a true masterpiece.

Bergen-Belsen: January-15 April 1945

In January 1945 Ceija and her mother were taken to the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, firstly by truck and then on foot. In this camp where no more food was given to the deportees Ceija and her mother survived among dead bodies despite cold, hunger and fear. On 15 April 1945 Bergen-Belsen was freed by the English troups; then set on fire to prevent the spread of epidemics which had already killed many deportees. The works exhibited in this room show life and death in Bergen-Belsen, as well as the liberation of the camp.

Back to Life

The last room of the exhibition brings us back to life. The walls are coloured again and one can see blue skies and sunflowers, and the sun and mother earth which both bring us life and hope. One can feel how the past, the present and the future are mixed up. Even if the paintings are now coloured and cheerful, the carefreeness expressed by the works in the first room has gone…

It is difficult to find the words telling all that one feels after visiting such an exhibition. I have introduced you to very few of the works exhibited: there are many other paintings and texts and some photographs as well. I hope that this general survey has tempted you. I really loved it! Moreover it was my first visit to the Maison rouge and I highly recommend you to discover this amazing cultural place near the Bastille… before its closing in the end of 2018.

And to end, some words by Ceija Stojka:

“If the world doesn’t change now – if the world doesn’t open its doors and windows – if it doesn’t build peace – real peace – so that my great-great-grandchildren have a chance of living in this world, then I’m incapable of explaining why I survived Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbrück.”

Practical information : Exhibition Ceija Stojka – La maison rouge-fondation antoine de galbert – 10 bd de la bastille 75012 – Until 20 May 2018 – wednesday till sunday: 11am-7pm (9pm on thursday)

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog – www.goodmorningparis.fr

Cherry Blossom Festival in Paris

Dear Readers,

I intended to write a post about a beautiful and strong exhibition that I have just visited in Paris but walked through the Jardin des Plantes yesterday evening ; and I have changed my mind. The Japanese Cherry trees are presently in bloom, and so magnificent ! Once it has started the Cherry blossom only last a couple of days.

So if by chance you are in Paris this weekend or the coming week, do not miss this amazing sight and enjoy a walk in the Jardin des Plantes… as it will not last more than a few days. Moreover not only the Japanese Cherry trees are in bloom but also the Magnolias and the Butterfly bush : A true delight !

Below is the article I had written about the Jardin des Plantes three years ago, on 9 April 2015. We had a very cold and long winter in Paris this year ; but Spring has finally arrived… and the Japanese cherry trees are in bloom almost on the same day as three years ago !

A must-visit in Early Spring: the Jardin des Plantes in Paris
Jardin des plantes Paris-Cherry blossom
Cherry blossom in the Jardin des Plantes

I hope that you have enjoyed this walk again… and promised, next week I’ll tell you about the exhibition !

Practical information : Jardin des plantes – 57 rue Cuvier 75005 Paris

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog – www.goodmorningparis.fr