Photo of the Week

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The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

ParisUpdate-CarreRiveGauche-Passage AH 0

“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Art - Temporary Exhibitions

 

A Journey to Norway

Fervent Abstraction
Inspired by Nature

Paris-Update-Olivier Debré, Oppdal

“Oppdal” (1979), by Olivier Debré.

To see the exhibition “A Journey to Norway,” all you have to do is take a trip south, to the lovely French city of Tours, just over an hour from Paris by TGV.

There have always been plenty of good reasons to visit Tours – read all about them here – and yet another has been recently added with the reopening of the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré in a brand-new building designed by Portuguese architects Aires Mateus.

This regional art center is named after the French painter Olivier Debré (1920-99), who was a frequent visitor to the Centre-Val de Loire region and who made a bequest of many of his works to the center so that they could be exhibited in conjunction with the work of contemporary artists.

Debré was a great traveler and had a special fondness for Norway, which he visited often. The new building is being inaugurated with “Un Voyage en Norvège,” an exhibition of paintings he made in that country, alongside a show of works by contemporary artists working there.

On the main floor, in the light-drenched “White Gallery,” Debré’s beautiful abstract paintings lift the spirits immediately. The only painting in the show not made in Norway, the monumental “Gris Bleu, Taches Bleues de Loire” (1990), takes up the entire far wall, drawing visitors into the room with its sweeping expanse of cloudy sky-blue, occasionally opening up to a deeper blue and hints of other colors.

This master colorist liked to paint outdoors,

Paris-Update-Olivier Debré-ATELIER, (c) François Poivret

Olivier Debré at work. © Francois Poivret

even when it was snowing, so he could take direct inspiration from the landscapes in front of him. The canvases here, while totally non-figurative, evoke icy mountains or the blue light reflecting off a fiord. Others, especially those painted in Lærdal, immediately call to

Paris-Update-Olivier Debré, Longue barre bleue Svanoy, 1974

“Longue Barre Bleue Svanoy” (1974), by Olivier Debrémind the Aurora Borealis, although there is no direct reference to the phenomenon. Some of the color combinations are breathtaking. (The photos on this page don't really do them justice.)

Debré, whose work seems to have been unfairly neglected outside of France, fittingly referred to his style as “fervent abstraction,” and his passionate reaction to the landscapes before him comes through strongly in his paintings.

Downstairs, in the “Black Gallery,” a group of young artists working in Norway – Ahmad Ghossein, Tiril Hasselknippe, Saman Kamyab, Ignas Krunglevičius, Kamilla Langeland, Lars Laumann, Solveig Lønseth, Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Linn Pedersen, Tori Wrånes and Thora Dolven Balke – offer up entirely different interpretations of the Norwegian “landscape” with their mostly conceptual works. Titled “Innland,” the show explores the idea of the interior of a territory, whether geographic, intellectual, personal or geopolitical.

A third exhibition in another of the CCCOD’s spaces, The Nave, is a monumental installation by Per Barclay called “Oil Chamber,” which uses a pool of black gold to create a vertiginously disorienting experience for visitors. I won’t spoil it by explaining it – it must be seen.

A visit to the center is well worth the trip to Tours, especially to see Debré’s paintings. While you are there, however, take the time to visit Balzac’s native city as well.

Heidi Ellison

Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré: Jardin François 1er, 37000 Tours. Tel.: 02 47 66 50 00. Winter hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 11:30am-6pm, Thursday until 8pm. Summer hours: Monday, 2pm-7pm; Wednesday-Sunday: 11:30am-6pm, Thursday until 8pm. Admisstion: €6. Olivier Debré: through September 17, 2017. Oil Chamber: through September 3, 2017. Innland: through June 11, 2017. www.cccod.fr

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More reviews of Paris art shows.

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