Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Good news for art-lovers in Aix as the new exhibition at L’Hotel Caumont Centre d’Art has been announced: (more…)

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This annual celebration of European heritage is always a high spot in the calendar in Aix with special events and ‘portes ouvertes’ across town. (more…)

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Far from the heat of Provence, my summer has been spent in sunny Scotland and, feeling the wind in the willows beside the sweetly-flowing Thames.  Which means that I can’t give personal views on the current slew of exhibitions, many of which end soon.  So here comes a round-up of what’s on…..and hopefully I’ll manage to visit some and post reviews as I go.

Les Rencontres d’Arles.


We are lucky to have the world’s largest photography exhibition so close to us.  This year, it’s 50 years old and there are 50 expos to choose from.  They are on the walls of venues all across Arles: start at the tourist office and arm yourself with a large map with all the details plus venue locations and work out a route. Highlights include ‘La Movida’ post-Franco Spanish photography at the 17thc Palais de l’Archeveché; ‘Home Sweet Home’ Brits and their billets at the Maison des Peintres, ‘Tom Wood. Mothers Sisters Daughters’ at Salle Henri Conte; and ‘Postcards’, a reflection of the rise of mass-tourism, at the Musee Departemental d’Arles Antique.  Loads of detail in English here: https://www.bjp-online.com/2019/07/what-to-see-les-rencontres-darles/

50 ans, 50 livres © Joana Luz – Courtesy LUMA & Tate Modern & Les Rencontres

Martin Parr is a frequent exhibitor at Les Rencontres.  This year he has chosen to show, ’50 Years 50 Books’ from his collection of 12,000 photography books. It’s in this enormous space, formerly a railway engine factory, at the old shunting yards just north of town.  It’s all being morphed into LUMA, a huge arts complex, including a 10-storey tower by Frank Gehry which is nearing completion.

Les Rencontres ends 22nd September

A trip out to Chateau Lacoste is always a pleasure.  New here?  Hot-foot it to see this fascinating transformation of a traditional vineyard into a centre for sculptures and installations from world-famous artists like Ai Wei-wei, Tracey Emin, Andy Goldsworthy, Tadao Ando, and many more.  Its indoor galleries are expanding in scope and this summer we can see a specially curated display of artworks on paper and objects by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1977 to 1988. His retrospective at the Barbican in London was thrilling so this promises to be worth visiting; plus we can see Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara who presents his second solo exhibition in France and his first in over fifteen years.

The gallery says: ” Nara is internationally renowned for his distinctive paintings, sculptures, and drawings of single figures. While this imagery is rooted in Japanese popular culture. Nara’s approach reveals a deep connection with the process of making. His paintings are expressions of colour that breathe life into his bold images, his sculptures bear traces of his fingers that have shaped their forms, and his drawings capture the spontaneity of his daily thoughts”.  Basquiat ends 13th October, Nara 22 November.

We’re off to Cannes next, where there is an exhibition of the delightful and inspiring Niki de Saint-Phalle. Main details on the poster plus this link: http://www.cannes.com/fr/evenements/annee-2019/juillet/niki-de-saint-phalle-l-ombre-et-la-lumiere.html

The main show at the Malmaison (gorgeous little building on La Croisette) ends 3rd Nov; the part at Villa Domergue finishes 22nd Sept.

Here are some more end-dates to be aware of, as museums clear the decks for their autumn-winter shows. So, last chance to see…

Jean Dubuffet MuCEM, Marseille ends 2 September

Entire Museum Musee des Beaux Arts in Marseille being rejigged so closed 23 Sept – 12 December

Sainte(s) Victoire(s) Musee Granet, Aix, ends 29 September

Chefs d’Oeuvresdu Guggenheim, Caumont, Aix, ends 29 September

Fauvisme Musee Yves Brayer, Les Baux, ends 10 October

Fabienne Verrier Musee Granet, Aix ends 13 October

Everyone seems to have really enjoyed ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ and ‘Japan’ at the Carrieres de Lumiere in Les Baux. If you haven’t made it there yet, happily, this continues until early January 2020.

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Both PARADES in the cours Mirabeau, which opens the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Parade Pique-Nique, part of MPG2019, are all booked out, (June 30th), but it’s always nice to wander in town around these events.

It’s very much the beginning of a packed summer of events in town, and also throughout the region, so what you need is a copy of ‘Le Guide de l’Eté’ published by La Provence. (more…)

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Fabienne Verdier likes to paint en plein air, which as you know is a big challenge in Provence: swirling winds, rain in deluges, Mistral, baking sun – she’s battled through it all, standing in the middle of massive canvases or balancing up step-ladders. (more…)

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En Avignon

I learned in my French class yesterday that we may say, ‘à Marseille’, ‘à Aix’, but it should always be ‘en Avignon’, as it sounds so much

Photo from France 3

better.  I wonder if Barak Obama knew that last evening as he flew into Provence for a short family holiday.  In fact they will be staying not far from Villeneuve-les-Avignon, just across the Rhone, a charming old town…”C’est un peu le 16e arrondissement d’Avignon’ according to one local.  The inhabitants seem delighted with their famous visitor but emphasised that they wish them to have a peaceful stay, without too much attention.  According to reports in La Provence, though, their accommodation will be surrounded by a 24/24 police presence. I hope they can get out to enjoy the area.

Avignon itself has a lively programme of cultural events all year round; but in the summer, comes into its own with the Festival d’Avignon.  It started in 1947 and attracts tens of thousands of visitors: there are more than forty different shows performed during the Festival, plus readings, exhibitions, films and debates. It’s worth noting that there are often plays in their original language.

Expect some challenging art too – I look forward to seeing the oils of talented young Syrian painter, Miryam Haddad, at the Collection Lambert.

Their permanent collection has many of the great names in contemporary art, housed in an elegant hotel particulier.  The courtyard café, La Violette, under the shade of a magnificent plane tree, is a great venue for lunch.

The festival starts at the beginning of July. 

More on Miryam Haddad’s work here: https://www.festival-avignon.com/en/artist/2019/miryam-haddad

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Local museums with interesting locations can really benefit from their space, now that the warm weather is here and the days are long. (more…)

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