Off To Venice

Tomorrow Olivier and I leave for the last leg of my trip. To Venice for the Biennial. Can’t wait. Been an exciting Art Adventure so far, looking forward to more and more and more. Milk of Dreams. What a title, what a curator, here we go.

On my way down from the UK I stopped into Paris for about 4 hours between the Eurostar that gets in at Gare du nord and the TGV from Gare de Lyon to Olivier’s. I decided to roll my suitcase and carry my backpack for the 45 minutes it took me to walk along Rue Saint-Martin to Centre Pompidou. I wanted to just feel Paris again for the short bit I had to enjoy her. And what greeted me first? The smell of cigarettes. I am sorry to say.

I stored my luggage across the street from the Museum, and set on to see Chis Ware’s show and the Contemporary Art Collection. While heading up the escalator that famously runs alongside the building, I caught a classic glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and for a moment let my guard down to allow myself to be pure tourist.

It had been over 20 years since my last visit, so it was exciting to see a lot of new works for me by Anselm Kiefer, Mark Bradford, Louise Bourgeois and Giuseppe Penone, as well as some old favorites by Joseph Beuys, Annette Messager and Janis Kounellis. The Penone installation was a room with walls of dried laurel leaves encased in metal screening with a small sculpture of a set of cast lungs. The smell was intoxicating. It meant a lot to see Joseph Beuys and the coyote together again, after the piece I made at Hospital field reminded me so much of the shape of the shepherd’s hook he used.

After Pompidou I walked next door to pay homage to the re-creation of Master Brancusi’s studio. Have a little lunch, and then make a pilgrimage to Mariage Freres for some tea in Le Marais. The man serving me was just magical with his fan as he wafted the scent of 3 tins of Darjeeling for me to sample their aroma through the air. Ahh Paris. Thank goodness for some things that do not change. Even down to some of the dog doo left on the sidewalk.

But like they say, all good things must come to an end, and off I was again to the train. It was a fast ride on the TGV, but Olivier was running a bit late to pick me up. I needed to use the Toilet, but did not have the .50 Euro to pay for the lock. I asked the woman tending the bar, and she just shrugged her shoulders and said no change. Thankfully the station master gladly handed over a coin to me. When I mentioned how difficult the woman behind the bar was to Olivier, he said she has always been like that, for over 20 years tending that same bar. Like I mentioned before, some things never change…

Will be off line for a few days as we visit Venice, and travel light without computers. Be back soon for a wrap up.

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