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Thursday, February 16, 2006

When dreams come true

"Silver Tube " oil and collage on canvas Yuri Kuper


It has been a strange time. Grey. Drippy. More grey. I work. I hate everything. I feel bad about all the things I haven't done that I need to do. I miss my husband. My cats. (I haven't seen one single living breathing feline since I've been here...only references to them in grafitti and art!) I work some more. I exhaust myself looking at art...trying to find works that inspire...and then something strange happens. There will be something I want or need and I will dwell on it and it will happen...(!)

I've begun to think I should start dwelling on the really important things rather than regular things like the absence of a vaccumn cleaner in life at the Cite. (and then I will hear one a few rooms down...one which I will be able to borrow!) Or an invitation to the vernissage for the Picasso/Dora Maar show on Valentines at the Musee Picasso here...(and I get a call.., and an invitation!)


So, the important stuff. I determined to take a walk on dwell on these things. Why am I here?

After this epiphany rolled off my back I pulled myself together and walked through the lobby looking for inspiration. First I walked by the Willy Ronis exhibition which closes in a day or so. I've been wanting to go but not enough to stand in a long Que. As much as I enjoy a photograph I love most just as well while sitting in a reading chair with a bottle of wine as I do in a gallery. There are times when this isn't enough. Willy Ronis is French, after all and I am in Paris and the show is free....but the *(#!~!$ que! So I continued to walk. I wound up in St. Germain des Prix hoping to see the work of Yuri Kuper a Russian painter whose work looks interested. I found the show with open doors just as it started to rain. It is an interesting show so I took the time to photograph and walked next door to another gallery that was showing some of his older, more surreal work. There was more variety in this body of work and it was raining harder so I decided to spend some time with the paintings. This process was aided by the fact that an attractive middle age gallery dealer with seriously french silver glasses was sitting at his desk at the back of the gallery...speaking very loudly, in English! Slowly, like he was speaking to someone whose English wasns't quite as good as his. His glasses were like Elton John's more uptown, conservative looks - sleek and rectangular and not metal. Something sparkly and synthetic.

He spoke of how quiet his life has been of late. How there is nothing but work and it is soooo slow. He said Paris is soooo boring right now. "I like it, being bored," he said, "but it is like jumping from a swing and the swing is still moving." (I was thinking at this point his English was pretty #*)($ good.)

He asked his friend Robeeerrrrt if he was living with anyone at the moment. "Oh, I would love to visit you and have our wonderful, long conversations now. I could make you coffee in the morning." This reminded me of my beloved who brings me coffee in bed most mornings...sigh....

And then he said how he was in need of intimacy...how he longed for it. "No, she does not know. It is better if she doesn't know, you understand, of course...(!)" Ahhhh. I think so, French. "Oh, he says, she mumble, mumble, and I have to jack off...(he's got the slang down, I think...and he's been practically yelling this conversation so it wasn't much of a mumble)
"Oh, I need your hot little anus" he swoons... Now I am practically laughing out loud but I can't leave this is SO UNBELIEVABLE... if it were in a movie I would think of it as such a characerature...too much, I would think...the French aren't like that! Thats ridiculous, I would think...

It went on and on and he started mumbling more with a few phone sex words slipping out...I had to leave. I was terrified he would finish and I would be forced to run out to avoid speaking to him or I would burst out laughing. Yes, I guess I am a true voyeur..though I was right there in front of him walking around, taking photos of the paintings...maybe he knew I was American (unlikely) and the fact that I could hear was a turn on? That was even funnier...I had to leave...but it was hard. I wanted to be a fly on the wall with no concern for consequences (mine!)

The thing that amazed is that at one point there must have been half a dozen people in the gallery and he didn't slow down on syllable...or tone it down one decibel. The paintings were valued at 20.000 Euros apiece or more. Meanwhile it was raining harder. My punishment for sticking around longer than necessary. I found the art supply store around the corner that had a sale sign out front. This time, 10 percent lower. This is amazing. Art supply stores in the states never mark down their entire inventory unless they are moving or going out of business.
That was fun.

By the time I left the rain was letting up so I decided to walk along the left bank of the Seine on my way back to my atelier...but down by waters edge so I could wait under a bridge if the rain began again. Suddenly the sky started to clear and there was the most amazing light shining on the tip top of Samaritaine and everything on the right bank. It was like the postcard you always thing has been touched up but it was real. I continued to walk at a photographer's pace...shooting the light through the bridges, Notre Dame seen from under a bridge, etc and just as it was perhaps too dark for me to shoot anymore the lights came on in the city. It was still dusky outside s0 the yellow lights outlining the bridges and running along the retaining walls made the sky seems even bluer. It was magic. I don't think of Paris as the city of lights in the same way as I did before. Now I realize that something was lost in translation...that is is a city of changing light and the transformation of perception that results from this is surely the source of much of the great art of the 20th C. I noticed this yesterday at the Louvre...the Court Marley sculptures looked completely different each time I walked through that area. It has an atrium allowing the sculpture to be lit naturally for most of the day and then selective spots at night. I could spend the whole day there. Maybe I will one day soon.

3 Comments:

Blogger schaumi said...

Isn't it a treat when basically the small matters that can annoy one's life get taken care of without much effort on one's own part. As for the rain....well, that's life in that part of Europe. Five hours east in Germany, the weather was always like that during the winter too. Blech..

2/17/2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

More interesting than the conversations I overhear, that's for darn sure. When will people learn to modulate their voices in public?

2/17/2006 11:56 AM  
Blogger artie said...

I think some people think of the public as nothing more than an audience for their antics. I've come to the conclusion that Monsieur Gallery Dealer must be of that persuasion - to complement his other passions?

2/19/2006 5:11 PM  

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