I have the pleasure to be a member of the “Association Artistique Suédoise à Paris”. It’s an association with the task to support Swedish artists working in France - sponsoring, organizing exhibitions and visits to artist workshops, buying art for a lottery among members…. Now and then there are also some events, which are not necessarily linked to Sweden. This was the case last week, when we visited “104 – Centquatre” (the name comes from the address, 104, rue d’Aubervilliers).
The place we visited is since 2008 an artistic centre for the City of Paris. I made a post about it just after the opening. The place is a bit off the road and had some beginner difficulties which now seem to be overcome. A lot of cultural and artistic activities are now taking place in these large premises of which the major part dates from 1873 and then were occupied by undertaker services. From 1905 on, when the separation of Church and State took place in France, the undertaking services were managed by the City of Paris, having the city monopoly until 1993. All funeral services ended here in 1997. During its peak days, some 1400 people worked here.
So, it was fortunately decided not to destroy these remarkable buildings and after a few years of reconstruction, the place was thus opened in 2008 for its new tasks.
Apart from the large halls there are a lot of smaller spaces where artists can perform, exhibit … and work, prepare, rehearse…
Other activities include shops, cafés … and a nursery-garden, where kids - and parents – are “taught” how to play.
With our group we went for a moment down to the basement (which once was a stable for some 300 horses) and where we tried a labyrinth made of corrugated cardboard.
An ongoing exhibition, “In_perception”, offered three points to visit, all with the idea to draw the attention to the difference between perception and reality.
The first one (created by Leandro Erlich) is a false building, laying on the ground and mirrored. This is of course how different fiction heroes are filmed and our group members enjoyed playing Spidermen and Spiderwomen.... (The "real" Spiderman was not present, but I thought I had to add him, giving a helping hand to the president of the association.)
...the second one (created by Lawrence Malstaf) is again some kind of a labyrinth, sometimes with mirrors, sometimes not, which leads to some surprises… sometimes you see yourself, sometimes someone else… or nobody....
… and the third one (created by Veronica Janssens) brought us into a large room, full of dense “fog”. The camera saw better than my eyes, but even so I couldn’t see my feet. The “fog” changed colours from grey, to blue-green and finally red. This makes you aware of the difficulty to find your way, only making use of other senses than the sight.
Well, we found the exit.
Well, we found the exit.