I've been seeing amazing photos over the past months showing the Monumenta 2012 exhibition by Daniel Buren, currently on at the Grand Palais. When I found out last week that the exhibition finishes on the 21st of June I realised I needed to stop procrastinating and go.
We went at midday on a Wednesday and there was no queue, we just walked straight in. This is what you first see as you walk in. We were lucky that the sun was shining when we arrived so the shadows cast on the ground were clear and sharp.
We went with the kids (which I would highly recommend if you can find some). As we walked in we said to the kids that if they got lost we should meet......hey come back!
Daniel Buren who designed the exhibition is a French conceptual artist born in 1938. He also designed, the striped column sculpture in the great courtyard of the Palais Royal in 1986. This one.
The Grand Palais was built for the Universal exhibition of 1900. Construction began in 1897. It was built at the same time as the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III just near by. The building was constructed in the architectural style of the Beaux Arts. In parts it is incredibly over the top and fancy.
What is most striking about the building is the vast glass roof vault, one of the biggest and oldest in Europe.
This photo, taken from the gallery, helps to understand what on earth is going on.
Underneath the central glass dome are a series of giant circular horizontal mirrors raised about 10cms above the ground. They reflect the ceiling of the Grand Palais. If you're in any way vertiginous, walking across these mirrors is not for you!
Our son didn't mind, he thought he was flying!
Our daughter tried to do a handstand but said it was too scary, imagine diving 50 odd metres into a shallow glass dome. She did manage a cartwheel, however.
If you're in Paris before the 21st June 2012 I urge you to go, it's really impressive.
Details of exhibition with details about opening hours and tarifs etc. can be found here.
More details about the Monumenta exhibitions can be found here.