A day in Paris at the Musée Bourdelle

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An unusual place to discover during the current exhibition Back side

Few artists' studios of the early twentieth century have been preserved. This is fortunately the case of Antoine Bourdelle’s which has been transformed into a charming museum, presenting regular exhibitions. The current one puts a novel theme on show. Back Side is all about what’s going on behind our backs, illustrated through some of the museum’s permanent collections –the Bourdelle sculptures– combined with a hundred odd models and accessories dating from the eighteenth century up to today to question the perception we have of our own backs and those of others. Embellished with trains, wings, motifs and logos, or either zipped shut or sensually revealing cleavage, they all offer insight about how uses, trends and contradictions evolve through our times. While the clothes interplay with the powerful muscular backs sculptured by Bourdelle in the great Hall of plasters, and in the artist’s studio, the exhibition focuses on different themes in the extension designed by the architect Portzampac: the wake with trains and wings, the load represented by backpacks, the frustration deriving from the fastening of feminine garments and opening onto fanciful bare backs as a reaction –here, of course, you will find the famous dress created by Guy Laroche for Mireille Darc, a dress revealing the actress’s back to the limit of decency, in the movie The tall blond man with one black shoe–, the mark that relates to the motif and message we choose to display on our backs, not to mention the photographic approach with the very smart black and white works by Jean-Lou Sieff. This new collaboration with the Musée Galliera, a counterpoint to the current trend overvalueing, through the selfie trend, the front view of the person and clothing, is a great success!

At the end of this original exhibition, why not be tempted by one of the many shows of the Autumn Festival? Drama, music and dance performances, visual arts and cinema, the Paris Autumn Festival is devoted to contemporary arts of all forms. The festival reveals quite extraordinary works to the public all over Paris and greater Paris and is on up to the end of the year !