Seydou Keita and Huan Yong Ping Empires at Grand Palais Paris / by Alexandra Fox

M- and I getting cultured at the Grand Palais today. 

M- and I getting cultured at the Grand Palais today. 

Due to the rain, M- and I cancelled our plans for a jazz in the park re-up today, and instead made our way to the safely indoors Grand Palais Paris

M- wanted to show me the Seydou Keita photography exhibit, a part of his answer to my call to show me his favorite places before I leave. :)

The photographs were amazing, and the story likewise wonderful. Keita was born in 1921 Mali, and was gifted a camera from his uncle on a return trip from Senegal in the 30s. He started taking pictures of friends and neighbors, and learned how to develop the film from a French photography store owner. 

When you see the images, they are really amazing - the depth of feeling in the expression, particularly the eyes, is wonderful. I love photography, especially portraits. It's also both funny and telling to see some of the poses people fall into, and the groups of people that take pictures together. 

It's even more amazing when you watch the Keita documentary and see the neighborhood where these photos were taken, and how it was done. His Bamako studio was essentially a very modest outdoor space, where he would hang wonderful patterned fabrics as a backdrop agains mud-and-clay house walls. 

He only took one shot a day of each of his subjects, so the sense of direction and style of his vision needed to have been incredibly high. 

Really wonderful exhibit. It was also cool to hear about M-'s experiences in Mali and compare them with my own sense of West Africa.

M- also got us tickets to the main exhibit in the great hall, "Monumenta 2016". I was pretty whatever about this one, I'm not big on large-scale art installations and I have honestly never seen one where I didn't inwardly ask the question: "Is this wasteful?". ¬_¬

Huang Yong Ping's piece, 'Empires', is an interpretation of the cycles of greed, expansion, and destruction that make the world go round. I was much more awed by the space itself, which has a beautiful glass-domed ceiling and the same indoor feel as the Eiffel Tower. (Like the tower, the Grand Palais was constructed for the 1900 World Expo).

Huan Yong Ping's "Empires" installation.

Huan Yong Ping's "Empires" installation.

M- says he's been to a lot of cool events in the space - the winter they turned it into a skating rink for a week, and the time they threw Paris's largest hip-hop party. So, if you're ever in Paris, I would definitely recommend checking out what's going on at the Grand Palais and stop by.

That's all for now...


- A