Saturday, 7 January 2017

Fondation Louis Vuitton

In the run up to Christmas I'd been working very hard. And as the saying goes: "All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy". And that quite simply, would never do. The solution? A jaunt on the Eurostar to Paris. A visit to Paris is always a pleasure, so off I went full of excitement with a specific mission in mind.

I had read that there was an amazing exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton - Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection, and decided that I wanted to see it. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is situated in the Bois de Boulogne on the edges of the west of the city - an area more famous for the ladies of the night who ply their trade among the park's foliage. I had never ventured to that part of Paris before and was curious to see the Vuitton Fondation building which was opened in 2014, and designed by 'starchitect' Frank Gehry.

The first sight of the Foundation building from a distance is really impressive. It's like a huge futuristic Ark which has somehow run aground from the Seine and beached in a pool of water. It's a dynamic design that looks as if it was inspired by the billowing sails of ships of old. This impression is reinforced by its siting in a shallow pool with a waterfall that gently ripples underneath the structure and makes it look as though it is ploughing its way through the surf.

The huge glass 'sails' on the building are usually just plain (internet picture above), but the coloured panels currently on the 'sails' are an installation by the artist Daniel Buren. They filtered the sunlight nicely and provided some interesting light effects inside the building.

It's the first time I've been into a Gehry designed building apart from the temporary pavilion he designed for the Serpentine Gallery back in 2008. It is a triumph of architectural engineering. The gallery spaces on the upper floors are light and spacious, and the views from the roof terrace below give great views of the surrounding park and Paris.

Even more impressive than the building however, is the current exhibition, Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection...