Thursday, January 15, 2009

the more i learn the more i want to learn

that's what Dani said to me as we strolled in awe through the Petit Palais today. The Little Palace. The obvious obnoxious snobbery of calling a building this majestic 'little' is tempered only by the fact that it is true. Petit Palais is dwarfed by the Grand Palais which sits across the road - ave Winston Churchill (there is a bronze statue of Churchill striding mid war effort - the sculptor having captured his pugnacious doggedness perfectly - it brought a tear to my eye actually - i am busy reading Fugitive Pieces so WW2 is particularly resonant for me at the moment). The Grand is like an overprotective big brother who doesnt want the shine to be taken away from himself. Indeed the Grand Palais is just that - grand - with it's imperious glass dome roof, looming edifice resplendent with massive columns and epic chariot and horse statues perched precariously above you, teasing gravity, craning your neck and challenging the heavens.
Step inside the Petit however and you will be greeted by sights that will make any schoolyard bully weep for his own frailty in the face of all that has come before him. The place is awash with history manifested through paintings, jewelery, ancient artifacts, sculpture, and architecture. The pamphlet says the space is designed to create a visual dialogue and to reveal the influences and innovations provided by major artistic movements from Greece to the First World War. Undoubtedly it does this but more than anything else, it makes you feel small - but not in a bad way. It is overwhelmingly inspiring, every corner revealing a treasure. It was a veritable cornucopia of amazing radness and to list them all would be folly. I would like to mention two things though - one was a statue of a man (i cannot remember the sculptor) who was in so much turmoil and anguish it hurt to look at him - at his feet writhed the naked bodies of children/teenagers? while he tore at his eyes as if to gouge out the vision of the world as he saw it, his feet clenched on top of each other, his toes recoiled in bilious terror. It moved in front of me and it scared the living crap out of me. The other was a French sculptor by the name of Jean Carries who must have been a major influence of the movie Pans Labyrinth - his work was of a delightfully darkly fabled nature, a style of which i am very fond - demon toads, fauns, maniacs grinning from inside nightmare fairy tales - all good fairy tales should have the quality of nightmares of course.I would love to describe more but i have run out of adjectives.
It was all too short before i had to dash across town to get to the show. We had our second performance and we get closer to wrangling the unruly beast that is this show. Not there yet - and who knows we may never be - but we soldier on. It will be nice to sit with the show for a while and find the rhythms and discover the path of least resistance. You can look at pics of the show at the following link

and also pics of our adventures in paris on my facebook profile.
A message to Daniel - i love you so much my heart wants to pop out of my chest - enjoy big school with your big shoes and all your brand new big teeth. You rock dude. See you soon.


Anne said...

Thank you for taking time to share your and Dani's experiences in that wonderful old city of Paris. You are bringing it all to life to us back in SA.
Talking of you learning - you are also teaching! I had never heard the words "cornucopia" or "radness" before, so had to get out my large Universal Dictionary! Now I have learnt something new too! I rather like those new words! I hope you both continue to explore and have fun, while you learn!
Unfortunately I was not successful with the link you gave for the show pictures.
Best wishes, Anne.

Mem said...

Mem says - Robby, ny frienbd Helen commented as follows:"He writes most graphically. Still isnt saying much about the play. About the pictures - they're isolated postures frozen moments in time that say little to me because I dont understand them probably. Hope he is happy."
Robby I could not see the pics either will ask Garry to help.
Kai gives a "high five" now - he is so clever, L U L