If I ask you what is the capital of art now you would probably say that it is London or New-York. And you will be right. But let’s not forget that some time ago a capital of art was Paris. Belle Époque, Salon de Paris, impressionism, fashion – these are some of the associations that come to my mind when I am talking about art and Paris. Besides of that we should remember that France was a great colonial empire that had domains all over the world: in North America and South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa of course. So you can imagine how many artefacts of traditional cultures were exported to the metropolis.
Today I want to tell you some words about the musée du quai Branly (museum Branly quai) and show you some pictures I have made back in 2014. Its collection consists of objects of “primitive art” from almost all dark corners of the Earth. Sounds a little bit politically incorrect? Let me exculpate myself. Writing “dark corners of the Earth” I mean that in past times there were really blank spots on the maps and many cultures were very enclosed and withdrawn. Also a phrase “primitive art” has some kind of negative context. Underdeveloped, aborted… Of course it is not so, it is just another cultures and another art that can teach us a lot. Founders of museum were thinking the same way and decided not to give it “Museum of primitive arts” name, changing it to Musée des arts premiers (Museum of fine, primeval arts) at first and then they eventually have called it Musée du quai Branly.
It was opened in 2006, so Branly quai is a pretty new museum. If you are near the Eiffel tower then a couple of minutes of walk set you apart from this marvellous place. There is a small calm garden in patio of the museum. And inside… Well… A very unique ambience reigns there. It takes you away from restive streets of Paris to some extraterrestrial world. You are being watched by hundreds of idols. The ancient sights observing you through the slits of the ritual masks.
There is not so much light in there, but all showpieces are lightened very well. The expo consists of four sections: America, Asia, Africa, Oceania. If you are in hurry you can watch the expo in about 2 hours.
The aesthetics of objects, forms and textures sometimes seemingly looks like it was created by preterhuman intelligence. I had a horrible dizziness in one of the rooms with shamanic stuff. I don’t know if was a magic or just dark ambiance of the place. Anyway this feeling was quite an unusual. I would not recommend this place with small children.
Staring at some of the exhibits I could not help myself thinking about Howard Phillips Lovecraft. They remind me his ancient Gods that knew the times of world creation. They say that many of his images he saw in his dreams. Well, may be. When I look at this fishman idol I have goose bumps. If you have read “Shadow over Innsmouth” then you know what I mean. Just joking. Or may be not…
And here comes a real Chthonic horror! They say it is primeval art, but where could you see such an incredible expression of emotions!? It shocked me, just beyond any belief. (sorry for the bad photo, low light conditions and photo prohibition… Though it never stops me).
Every artist and not only artist would be impressed by the exposition. It pushes you to altered state of consciousness. It inspires and makes you turn to this “primeval” that we all have deep inside. Highly recommended to visit! Amazing!