Sunday 28 February 2010

La Vie Après La Mort

I found an exhibit called C’est La Vie, the same name as my blog at Le Musee Maillol. What I find interesting is that the title is “C’est La Vie” meaning “That’s Life” but the exhibit is all about the outbreaks of war and images of death. There is quite a distinction between the paintings, photographs, sculptures videos, jewelry, and objects of skulls on displayed throughout rooms. It starts with colorful presentations of contemporary art and works backwards in time, providing the audience with unusual approaches to art history.

An American article I found called “Vanities from Caravaggio to Damien Hirst at MuséeMaillol,” talks about the art of the older time periods. The author, Olivier Lorquin, calls these periods, ‘The Elders’ “Tempus fugit.” He talks about the Middle Ages, when the skeletons’ dance of death was invented, and the “memento mori”, where a skull’s unhinged mouth is glimpsed behind the portrait of the deceased. He then explains how the Black Death is combined with the Hundred Years’ War and the new Christian theology and they all brought horrible death into the field of art. He later talks about how the Renaissance re-awakened that celebration in all its violence. These works of art are shown in the museum. They were few of the paintings I could understand the importance of. Artists try to portray disease and death with the importance of religion.

Lorquin calls the modern period, The moderns’ “God is Dead!” There is an Andy Warhol piece of brightly painted skulls. He describes it as a “post-war art that glorifies the consumer society by renewing with the art of death.” Andy Warhol is known for a visual art movement known as pop art. I find it interesting Lorquin says this modern art is renewing death because it glorifies consumers because Andy Warhol and other artists of the 1970s focused on commercial illustrations.

I read a French article on Le Monde about this exhibit called “Crânes, transis, squelettes... au Musée Maillol, que d'os, que d'os!” I love that the author, Philippe Dagen, “La mort n'y est pas une tragédie spectaculaire, mais une évidence à laquelle la religion permet, peut-être, de s'habituer.” The art put on display in this exhibit is nothing but skulls decorated in various ways which makes is seem like death can be looked at as something extravagant. There is one piece of a skull covered in jewels and there are numbers of items of expensive jewelry decorated with symbols of death.

I found the exhibit very strange and even emotionally disturbing at times. It goes well beyond the morbid representations of death in an attempt to push back the limits of life. I can understand these artists are attempting to show the importance of the thousands of deaths that have taken place from war and disease, but some of the pieces on display just didn’t wake sense to me like a video of a boy kicking around a skull like a soccer ball. I guess all I can say is “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

Monday 8 February 2010

À la Mode et Ceux qui ont Faim

Real people on the street can be just as inspiring and creative as top models on the runway. While traveling Paris be on the lookout for street fashion. People are way more interested in personal style here. You can become eye candy for the style hungry.

Walking the streets of Paris is a constant runway fashion show. If you want to fit in in this city you have to dress to impress. It doesn’t matter if you are roaming the streets for hours or just stopping into a Monoprix, Parisians have a sense of fashion and they take it seriously. With a high of 41 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year be sure to keep warm, but don’t just throw on any winter apparel. Sweat shirts, sweat pants and Ugg boots are unacceptable.

Back in San Diego girls at SDSU are so lazy when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. I see so many girls wearing sweatshirts and leggings tucked into Uggs. Meager clothing such as this will make you stick out like a sore thumb.

Try improving your wardrobe with just 3 necessities: a button down coat, boots, and a scarf.

I have also realized a lot of places aren’t even open on Sundays. I went to La Marais with my roommate on Sunday. We walked past this mall that was closed. I found it quite strange that such a big shopping center would be completely closed on a weekend, but it was.Paris is a one of the fashion capitals of the world!! If you don’t live here, you’re visiting it for enjoyment so why not play dress up and go out with a bang!! I absolutely love Paris for this. I think it’s important to take care of yourself and how you look.

I come from Texas where they say everything is bigger and better. I think Americans in general like everything bigger. Take meals for instance. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 it was recorded that 67% of Americans were overweight. So many of us have searched years for the right diet plan. What we need to do is throw these low carb, low fat, sugar free diets dans le poubelle and come to France where meals are at least half the size they are in America. Not only do we love a lot of food, but we love eating it all day long. Seriously who really needs a double cheeseburger and fries at 4:00 in the morning?? In Paris most food places close around 5:00.

I asked a local Parisian why everything closes so early here. He replied, “Nous aimons le temps passé avec la famille. Le dîner est le moment le plus important de la journée pour la famille. Nous mangeons nourriture, et nous discutons avec les membres de la famille. “

This is definitely the hardest thing I’ve had to adjust to while living in Paris. Back home when I’m going to school and working I usually don’t get home till really late and probably eat dinner around 10 p.m. I definitely respect their family time because I am very close to mine and I think family should be one of the most important parts of someone's life.

Although I no longer live with my family in Texas, when I get back to San Diego I know I am going to appreciate everything a lot more. I will definitely appreciate the people and the restaurants that stay open 24 hours. No one wants to be working at 4:00 in the morning especially on a holiday when you should be with your family. Some people have to just to survive.