A day in Paris by Esprit de France #29

Zao Wou Ki par Esprit de france
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And what about painting, music and dance ...

In Paris, Asia is in the spotlight at the moment with the fore mentioned Foujita exhibition and this other one devoted to Zao Wou Ki at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. 40 very large format paintings offer viewers the lyrical and enigmatic work of this Chinese artist who settled in France after the Second World War. The journey begins with Traversées des apparences, a work from 1956 showing the new style Zao Wou-Ki adopted then: an immaterial space made up of indetermined full and empty areas and crossed with coloured threads creating a sense of depth. This painting, like the others, focuses on nature. Though it is not a landscape in the usual sense of the term, we can feel the presence of air, water and earth: hurricanes and nebulous mists, splashing and tumultuous flows, rocks or light twigs, and even fire with unexpected eruptions. Characterized by transparent colours and fluid sensuality, his abstract work blends oriental traditions with post-war avant gardism. As a friend of Soulages as well as the American Sam Francis, Zao Wou Ki’s approach also owes its subtle musicality to his long-time friend, the composer Edgar Varese.

robbins-sebastien-matheIf music is a significant component of this fascinating painting, its presence is even more obvious in another field of Parisian topicality combining music and dance. For the 14th year, Les Etés de la Danse is presenting four exceptional programmes at La Seine Musicale. The first two are a tribute to Jerome Robbins, the choreographer who combined classic dancing and musicals and whose name is linked to some of the best American dancing, with the participation of the New York City Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet. The July programmes are an opportunity to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet perform choreographies from different trends of post-modern dance, from William Forsythe to Benjamin Millepied. And the venue is one of the most futuristic sites in Paris, combining technological performance with an elegant, science-fictional architecture.