Florian and Michael Quistrebert’s Light of the Light at the Palais de Tokyo
Florian and Michael Quistrebert’s Light of the Light at the Palais de Tokyo. Photo: Sylvia Davis.

Allow me to suggest a trip off the beaten path. If you are already a fan of the Palais de Tokyo, it will need no introduction. If you have never visited, let me share with you one of my favourite spots in Paris.

The fact that it is open until midnight every night is already a sign that you are in an anti-museum. In fact, this is a contemporary art space celebrating the work of today’s artists in rotating, temporary exhibitions. The place is cavernous, in a prime location on the Seine near the Trocadéro, next door to the Museum of Modern Art, and can accommodate large-scale installations.

This is the perfect time to visit, as you’ll fi nd five exhibitions happening concurrently. Jean-Michel Alberola’s section is a voyage inside his mind. From the very first piece – The Only State of My Ideas, with a cluster of fragile ostrich eggs, some intact, some cracked or smashed, strung above a papier-maché head – I could relate. Yes, I know how that feels.

Florian and Michael Quistrebert’s beautiful play with light, Louidgi Beltrame’s intriguing El Brujo, and Sara Favriau’s architectural wood installation are all worth a visit too.

Jean-Michel Alberola’s The Only State of My Ideas, also at the Palais de Tokyo
Jean-Michel
Alberola’s The Only State of My Ideas,
also at the Palais de Tokyo. Photo: Sylvia Davis

The impact of an exhibit varies depending on the viewer. My favourite, Not Not Knocking On Heaven’s Door by British duo Simon Evans, is a minutely detailed internal dialogue through the artists’ handwritten works on paper. As I approached the first piece, a six-foot-high vertical scroll, it seemed to be a single image. As I came closer it became evident that it was in fact an intricate manuscript.

Imagine you had the inclination and the time to write down your every thought. What would the result look like? Would it paper a wall? A room? Could you fill a warehouse? In our digital, pixelated world, the handwritten work acquires the mystery of an object of antiquity.

At the Palais de Tokyo you are guaranteed to find something that makes you feel, or think in a new way. Is it art? You decide.

TIP: Have a browse through the bookshop before you leave – you’ll find some art books that you probably won’t see anywhere else.

Palais de Tokyo. Until May 16. Métro: Alma-Marceau / Iéna. Open daily noon to midnight, closed Tuesdays. Entry fee €10 (€8 students and under 26, free to under-18s). Tel: +33 1 81 97 35 88

From France Today magazine

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