The Real Art Action - Atelier des Lumières (Paris Part II)


Apologies for the delay. It’s May, and May is five shameful months away from January, which seems (even by my standards) quite late in the game to be only now just be delivering Part Two of my New year’s jolly to Bon Paris. I could say that I’ve been wildly busy and have only just had time to write it but that’s a big fat lie and so I must ‘fess up and concede that I’m just plain lazy. Super lazy, slug-like lazy in fact. “Write Paris Part Two” has successfully made it onto every single To Do list I’ve created since January. It happens (the list, that is) every day, it’s the first point of procrastination, a little charade ceremony I perform at 7.30am each morning, coffee in hand with my favourite pen (don’t pretend like you don’t have one)  and my over priced genuine vintage leather journal that Mulberry tricked me into buying and all the ambition and false belief that today is the day, The Day of Great Change, where every single item on that list is completed. I’m yet to relish that glorious day but alas, it’s not all doom and gloom because the sun is out and I’ve finally scrawled “Write Paris Part Two” at the very top of that list and le voilà! It’s finally here!


For the newbies (welcome) and everyone else who without doubt would have completely forgotten what I was wittering on about in my last post, The Scot and I crossed the Channel for a wee three-day escape to Paris over New Year’s Eve. Our ambitions were twofold, firstly: reprieve against an overwhelmingly social calendar and secondly: see some epic art. And epic it was. In a bid to up my social media game, I thought I’d share our adventure along with general stuff that I find interesting and humorous happens. My aim? Part pure self indulgence as the endeavour of writing/ wittering in itself quite a cathartic process and part desire to unpack my creative journey, to share little snippets of the process of how artist’s make art. Simples. I mentioned last time that I’d been unusually organised and had pre-booked tickets to see Atelier des Lumières ABSOLUTELY AWESOME opening show on Klimt which preceded a jaunt to the Lourve and lots of weird bolts of inspiration engendered from accidental exploring of street art and floral stags.


Firstly, Klimt. I bloody love Klimt’s work, I’ve awed at it in various galleries across the land, stepped back from it, squinted at it, looked at it from the side, attempted to visualise his process, imagined swirls and spirals painted in trance-like fashion sprawling out onto the canvas. It’s the repetition, the rhythm, the pattern, the motifs, the golds and those brilliantly bold block shapes next to the most delicately painted bodily forms that rock it for me. Klimt’s work moves me in a way that I can’t quite describe, to me it feels carnal, sensual, an indulgence, it’s nature and nurture and power. It was a big f••k you to the status-quo and a celebration of love, sex and women. It was most likely those pesky nipples that caused the real stir way back when, that and those long lustful stares and the intimacy he so perfectly captured. Like you’re looking straight in the eye of love or lust or both. The moments Klimt manages to capture feel so intimate that it almost feels like you’ve inadvertently engaged in voyeurism by merely stepping in front of his canvases. My mind boggles at this marvel, at how splodges of paint evoke and stir emotions that you can’t quite pin down into words. It’s this marvel us artists are constantly trying to create, to dig down and to really transmit something inner, something indescribable, something unquestionably human: emotion.

We arrived on foot to Atelier des Lumieres from Mama’s Shelter, via Pére-Lachaise cemetery which is home to the likes (or bones of) Jim moirrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf as well as 800,000 other humans. It’s the most visited cemetery in the world, the epitaphs of these greats being popular instagram phodor for the masses - a macabre pilgrimage for a photo in my view point but hey, who am I to judge!


Anyway, The Show: touted as an immersive art experience and Immersive it is, it’s like being dropped into a moving, whirling spiral of colour, the rhythm of the painted forms are perfectly echoed by the orchestral arrangements of the incredibly talented Luca Longobardi. The fruits of this pairing? Pure sensory indulgence.  It works so well because it creates child-like bewilderment,  like you’ve been dipped in every single Klimt canvass all at once. It’s incredible. The tiny details blown up on 18ft walls gives the works an entirely new lease of life, a new lens to look through, a truly new imagining of master works. Inventive, fun, accessible. Brilliant.


A’telier des Luminaire's shows sit in the belly of an old industrial warehouse. It’s a stellar example of how art is spilling out from the white cubes of the traditional gallery framework and pushing beyond culturally exclusive spaces into dynamic and inclusive realms. Art for all, is art as it should be. Wondering into this building is a real treat, if not a little confusing at first. You enter into a dark space and I’m not too sure if it was part excitement, part hangover or partly because I find French signposting a little lacklustre but I initially couldn’t quite work out were the exhibition was (queue raised eyebrow and mock  coy voice “are we in yet?” from The Scot) . After following the crowd (well, common sense really) I realised we had to slip in through a fairly inconspicuous door and OH MY DAYS what a treat it was stepping across that threshold. It was like diving into a warm pool of colour and music, through a portal into another world. You know that spell bounding scene in scene in Narnia when that little girl climbs into the wardrobe and she falls into another realm which stirs that childhood wonderment in even the hardiest of grown adults, well it kinda felt like that. Magical.



It’s incredible. It’s everywhere. It’s colour. It’s music. It’s all over you. It’s a 100% immersive Cultural Space just as it says on the tin. It’s a sensory overload and it’s a must see, must experience, must-definitely-do thing if you’re in Paris. You don’t even need to like art to enjoy this, it stands alone in its own right. Kids, grown ups, serious art people and just plain people can all take something from this.


The best bits?

 One) The endorphins really get fired from the visual stimuli interchanged perfectly in a timely beat to to the music of Longobardi which I’m certain it taps into some tribal undertone in our psyche.

Two) The details of works being blown up on 18ft walls makes view them in an entirely different way. It flips it on its head. You become the art, plunged deep into the world of Klimt: his painting, his sketchbook, his life, his influences, his story while all the while getting a sweeping overview of Vientian art. Pattern, repetition and rhythm of Klimt’s masterful strokes become all so apparent. His skill exquisitely undeniable.

Three) Watching people interact with it. It was pure joy to see children running through the technicolor pool of wonderment. If I were more unabashed by stifling societal norms of how adult people have to behave in public I too, would have to ran, free spirited up and down the length of that magical vortex.

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So get out there and go! Just do it and let me know what you think. Remember to book though, be unusually organised about it and enjoy the splendour of art done differently. I mean come on, when else are you going to get to swim into the canvass of one of the greats?

Laura DennisComment