Paris’s Grand Palais Gets Phantasmagoric Canopy of Color
May 9, 2012
All images: Francois Guillot/Getty
For the 2012 annual Monumenta artist Daniel Buren has suspended a vast “melancholy lake” of color-filtered parasols above the floor of Paris’s Grand Palais. Following Anish Kapoor “seminal” ‘Leviathan’ from last year, which situated a monstrous, blood-stained womb-cum-zeppelin that dazzled with its indignant scale, consuming the Palais’ floor area without doing much else, Buren’s installation attempts to reconcile the human scale with the cavernous environs into which it has been inserted.
Entitled “Excentrique(s)”, Buren’s work functions as a continuous canopy of Twister-colored circular pavilions that covers the space’s 13,500 square meter-wide ground floor. The resultant supra-structure is calibrated to the minimum height required for the standard Paris apartment, forming a low-lying plenum that drowns visitors, as the Guardian notes, in dampened color and light-laced shadow. Standing beneath this vaguely psychedelic forest, the century-old vaulted glass ceiling of the Grand Palais becomes tinged with a day-glo melancholy, not quite as “dirty and sad” as Walter Benjamin described, but more muted and jaded. The day after disco.