The two exhibitions we’ve enjoyed the most both just opened this week – what luck on our part! Both played to our specific interests, which made them even more fascinating.
Today’s at Jeu de Paume was a phenomenal Robert Frank photography exhibit that perhaps I can get Elise to write up for you, as she would do it better justice than I could.
Yesterday’s deserves its own post not only for the conversation it inspired between the two of us, but also because it’s newsworthy – it just had just opened that morning!
Louvre initiated a groundbreaking partnership with a collection of famed French creators of bandes dessinees – comic books, though in this instance it refers to graphic novels – for the new exhibition Le Louvre invite la bande dessinée.
Just the idea of the exhibit is groundbreaking. Louvre is a classical institution, and it has heretofore neglected to recognize bandes dessinees as fine art worthy of mention. Yet, it isn’t just its inclusion that broke ground, but it’s execution. The exhibition is not just a static display of the work of famous comic artists. Instead, Louvre engaged a panel of artists to write and illustrate a series graphic novels set in Louvre, each centering on one of its specific works.
The result was a set of imaginative, fantastical, diverse graphic novels by authors Nicolas de Crécy, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Éric Liberge and Bernard Yslaire – each with their own style and identity.
The exhibit features bios of each artist in French, English, and Japanese alongside of original plates of their work. Additionally, a series of video screens display the steps of digital illustration that went in to some of the books (said Elise: “Oh my god, Lindsay would love this.”).
One of our favorite genres of art in Louvre was paintings of the halls of the Louvre, because their artists had to painstakingly reproduce other artists’ works as seen at oblique angles and lighting conditions. The graphic novels do just that … arbitrarily, and on each page, all while imagining a narrative playing against that classical backdrop.
While many of the novels predictably featured the Mona Lisa, we were drawn in specific to Eric Liberge’s Odd Hours – partially because it is about Nike of Samothrace deciding to fly away from her moorings, but mostly because his illustrations are stunning. The plate of Liberge’s work literally stopped us in our tracks, which only a few other pieces in the entire museum managed to do.
This was a temporary exhibition, so we were prohibited from taking photos – and the comics are so new that I can’t even find any images online! I’ll try to shoot a page of Liberge’s stunning book to show you, as there’s no way I will be smooshing it onto my scanner at home.