Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The Musée Cantini has recently re-opened and is hosting an exhibition of paintings from Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, itself now closed for renovation. (more…)

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Perhaps you saw the engrossing film ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ in Aix back in 2014?

It was the story of the young man who bought some boxes of prints and negatives in a Chicago market and set out to find the photographer. This turned out to be an enigmatic lady who had worked as a nanny in the city for 40 years and spent her free time, Rolleiflex in hand, taking extraordinary photos of people and the street-life around her.  A bequest also financed a solitary round-world trip in 1960.  She was to take 100,000 pictures in all.

Now some of them will be on show  in Marseille, from 22nd June-8 July.

The organisers, Phocal, will also be showing the film and holding a weekend photography stage.

At Les Docks Village, space 200.

Daily 10-19hrs.

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Ai Weiwei at MuCEM

This is a highly political show – highly personal too.  Much is about the artist’s relationship with his father whose ship from Shanghai back in 1929 docked right next to where MuCEM is today. Indeed it was France that inspired him to become a poet, a dangerous occupation back in China where he was later forced into internal exile for 20 years; which underlies the political theme of his son’s exhibition, that of the refugee.

Colored House 2015

Ai Weiwei has made items specifically for Marseille, in the first large-scale exhibition of his work in France.  In the first room, visitors see one-tonne cubes of Marseille soap, one inscribed with the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the other with a Chinese Declaration of the Rights of Women.  The centre-piece of the first room however is a recreation of a Chinese house from the Ming Dynasty, strikingly colourful in the cool white geometry of the gallery. But its covering in modern industrial paint is a comment on China’s modern rush to economic progress.

‘A small act is worth a million thoughts,’ Ai Weiwei

This theme carries through into the second room where the centre-piece is an installation of 61 chandeliers mounted on a traditional bottle rack. It evokes the type of lighting in international hotels in Chinese megacities, contrasted to the humble support of the bottle rack.  It’s dazzling.

‘Creativity is part of human nature.  It can only be untaught’, Ai Weiwei

The destruction of these blue and white dragon bowls symbolises the effects of the Cultural Revolution

Elsewhere in the room, there’s an installation of pots from 5000BC slopped with industrial paint (you may have seen these at the RA in London), plus a 2016 series of portraits of the artist made from lego.

‘A refugee could be anybody.  It could be you or me. The refugee is a crisis, a human crisis’, Ai Weiwei.

  • Info-boards in French and English
  • Exhibition opens tomorrow; but from 16:00 hrs today, it’s ‘portes ouvertes’, free entry, with DJs performing  on MuCEM’s wonderful terrace.
  • MuCEM closed on Tuesdays except during August when it is open every day….good!
  • Entry 9,5 euros for over 18s.  Free first Sunday of the month.

‘My conclusion is we are one humanity.  If anyone is being hurt, we are all being hurt. If anyone has joy, that’s our joy’, Ai Weiwei.



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If you would like a preview of MuCEM’s summer show, ‘Ai Weiwei Fan-Tan’, head off down there on Tuesday 19th June when there is free entry 16-23:00hrs.

Plus…. (more…)

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Members of the Ballet Preljocaj will be performing on Friday evening at the Musée Granet during their Nocturne Dansée.  A good opportunity to check out the new Picasso-Picabia exhibition whilst enjoying some contemporary dance.  The museum will be open until 22:00, and the dancing will take place at 20 and 21:00hrs, each performance taking 35 minutes. (more…)

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The Bastide Rose is the beautiful honey-coloured home of Poppy Salinger who was married to JFK’s press secretary, journalist and writer Pierre Salinger.  It stands by the translucent river Sorgue and is the setting for an annual sculpture show. (more…)

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Walking up to the Galerie de la Prévoté tucked behind Aix’s Cathedral cloister takes one through the flower market which right now is full of the most beautiful peonies.

Les Pivoines – Jill Steenhuis

And these are the subject of one  of Jill Steenhuis’s colourful oil paintings which are showing at the Galerie.



This family show is an annual event.  Along with Jill’s work, visitors can see the metal work of her husband, and now the sculptures of 2 of her 3 sons.  Husband Serge Ruffato creates lyrical forms from metal pipes while son Sergio has produced attractive installations from steel.  New to the exhibition this year Alexandre Ruffato works with stone, cement, pigments and wood, making Romanesque-inspired sculptures.  And they couldn’t be shown in a more appropriate setting than this 1000-year old space.

The garden with its pure white flowers against the dark green ivies and ever-greens is a delight, a secret space in the centre of Aix.

American-born Jill has been profoundly influenced by French impressionism and above all the work of Cézanne. Do have a  look at her website, not only to enjoy more of her work but also to watch her 5 minute videos which show her producing her oil paintings: https://www.artinprovence.com/

Most of the paintings show scenes from Aix and around. Even the recent rainy weather hasn’t daunted her – see ‘Pluie sur un champs de coquelicots’, ‘Pluie sur le marché aux fleurs’ and ‘Pluie sur la Baie de Cassis’!

Pluie sur un champs de coquelicots

This is a lovely exhibition in a delightful setting – not to be  missed. Open daily until 21st June.  10-12, 14-19:00hrs.

Metal sculpture by Serge Ruffato

Jill looking out at medieval cloister



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