Musée des Arts Décoratifs exhibitions (Jan 2012)

Posted on February 2, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

On a grey and wet January day in Paris, I chose to spend the afternoon at Musee des Arts Decoratifs next to the Louvre. Very much like the V & A in London, this museum has an interesting collection of furniture, crafts, ceramics, designs, fashion and textiles as well as advertising work. Two years ago, I saw the exhibition on Madeleine Vionnet which exhibited the most beautiful couture dresses I have ever seen, it is no wonder that she is considered as one of the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.

The museum's layout is like a maze because there are many different sections and usually with several exhibitions happening at the same time. The highlight of this season is the retrospective of Jean-Paul Goude, which retraces his 40-year career in photography, fashion and advertising.

Goudemalion. Jean-Paul Goude une rétrospective (until 18th March)

Most of us are aware of Goude's photography work esp. of Grace Jones but this exhibitions demonstrates how talented and diverse Goude really is. Apart from his stunning photographs, there are also illustrations, sketches, films and installations; and the result is original, mind-blowing and a lot of fun. This is one of the most memorable exhibitions that I have visited in recent years and I think the curation and presentation is superb.

Yes, expect lots of Grace Jones, but presented in the most bizarre format... The one of her in the desert reminds of David Lynch's Dune and coincidently, some other work were also exhibited at the Postmodernism exhibition in the V & A which I saw a few weeks earlier.

Apart from Grace Jones, his photographs of Naomi Campbell and animals in Africa are also quite stunning. Though what fascinated me most at the show were his sketches and illlustrations... they are so intriguing and original. Overall, the exhibition is visually stimulating, full of surprises and a celebration of a true visionary. If you happen to be in Paris this month, do not miss it!


Stefan Sagmeister, Another exhibit about promotion and sales material
(until 19 February)

On the other side of the museum is another excellent exhibition on the Austrian graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister. Stefan's work are good examples of 'how to think out of the box': original, humourous and insightful, his work are never boring. Apart from his commercial work, there are also some personal stuff including self-promotional posters of himself, naked ( he is Austrian after all).

One thing I like about this exhibition is that each room is arranged differently and I particularly enjoyed reading his encounters/ stories in different cities... the one in L.A. is very funny but the Q-tip one really made me cringe.

Although he is not a furniture designer, he applied his graphic knowledge to create two very unqiue chairs: 'Darwin', designed for Droog, is made of 230 sheets of high-quality prints (printed by HP printer) attached together and each sheet can be ripped off when it gets dirty or a bit boring! I would love to have this chair at home! His palm-woven typographic chair on the otherhand, contains a poem that he wrote in his diary while he was on his sabbatical in Bali. So cool!

Then there is also the award-winning wedding invitation he created for his friends, which provides a narrative of their romance cast on paper with a laser beam and cut into tiny strips. It's unfortunate that there isn't a magnifying glass there to let us read it!

If you can't get to see this exhibition, there are quite a few of his talks on Ted that are very interesting, esp. 'The power of time off'. I think more people should take his advice, I totally agree that people working in our modern day society need to take time off to refresh themselves every now and again, and that includes myself too!


Les histoires de Babar (until 2 September)

The exhibition celebrates the eightieth anniversary of Babar, the King of elephants. There are sketches, drawings, toys, games and films on display, but it is not just an exhibition for kids. The watercolour drawings exhibited here are quite wonderful and they depict different journeys made by the family including one in Moscow and one of the parents meditating in the middle of Times Square! The scene is so cute that it prompted me to buy the notebook with Babar meditating on the cover, which will be used as my meditation journal!


Maarten Baas, les curiosités d’un designer (until 12 February)

For this exhibition, Dutch designer, Maarten Baas has created a theatrical environment composed of a series of Surrealist interiors in which he mixes anonymous pieces and his own works inspired by 14th century curiosity cabinets. Baas once worked at Moooi for Marcel Wanders, his furniture are quirky, unconventional and often challenges the notion of functional design. At the exhibition, there are four dimly lit rooms including a workshop filled with a range of objects from his clay collection. It's hard to describe Baas' work in words, but if you like Dali or Tim Burton, then you will probably like his one of a kind furniture.


All the exhibitions above are at Musée des Arts Décoratifs - 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001, Paris



This post was posted in Exhibitions, Photography, Travel, Paris, Art and was tagged with art and design exhibitions, paris, photography