In the 19th Century Baudelaire described Paris from its more scatological side. For the Romantics this was a new way to paint the modern landscape of their city. They were more interested in the absence of light, the wonder of the night, the occult, and life after death.
Edgar Alain Poe narrated Paris from America, his influence on Baudelaire absolute, even if he never traveled outside of the United States. Poe’s portrait of Paris was born from his own imagination.
But, this image is not unique. For its visitors, Paris is known as the City of Light, the city of glamour and elegance, and for the birthplace of the French Revolution. However, its complexity is deeper. Its social levels and assimilation of political and geographic influences had many connotations. This show proposes a different perspective of landscape and the different ways how American artists think about it.
Ana Roldan´s Natural Growth opens the exhibition, warning the visitor about the organic, non-linear way to perceive the exhibition. Three Colors Blue, are a series of collages of the French flag, playing with concepts of nationalism and freedom. In the center of the gallery is her floor piece JOE, which can be seen as a couple in an embrace, but if the public changes the display of the piece, it can be read as a swastika symbol that evokes a xenophobic city.
Pia Camil´s Espectacular is from a series of portraits of abandoned Billboards, using fragments of letters, numbers and images to create an image that points to the way in which the city shapes its owns aesthetic manifestations.
Popó de Paris is a video made by Pablo Leon de la Barra and Wilson Diaz in 2002. The video captures the artists drawing a special path around Paris, following dog (or human) excrement.
Carolina Caycedo’s Fuck you-Love touches on the dual nature of Paris, a city open to tourism but not to immigration. While it may be known as the city of love, xenophobia is a daily fact in the French capital. Instead of ink Caycedo spits coffee, a material that evokes the romantic idea of Paris and its café terraces.
José Aramburo’s Google Drawings fighting against the nineteenth century approach to nature by appropriate images from google maps. Globalism and Internet has allowed a democratic use of images. Dreaming about pure contact with nature is no longer a utopian act. Through technology people can virtually access every spot on the Earth. Contemporary life brings all type of landscapes to our homes. Like Poe, Arumburo can imagine the world without moving from home.
Starting with a private chromatic alphabet, Otto Berchem´s It’s our Party delineates the space and shapes the interior of the show. With festive connotations, the work reminds us that “We are not Alone”, standing in contradiction to the aim of privacy and the preservation of the Parisian society.