Where cultures interact… / Là où dialoguent les cultures…

Today we are going to talk about the Quai Branly Museum, there you will find out more about non-occidental cultures (from Africa, Asia, Oceania and Americas). I went there on Tuesday’s afternoon, (those who follow me on twitter and instagram got a sneak peek).

Let’s introduce the place. This institution was made possible thanks to two persons : Jacques Kerchache art dealer specialized in African art and Jacques Chirac, President of France (from 1995 to 2007). The first one wanted more recognition for the “art premiers”, he ran into Jacques Chirac who was at that time Mayor of Paris. As soon as he was elected President Jacques Chirac openned a department in the Louvre Museum and one year later made official his decision to create a new museum dedicated to the non-occidental arts.

The Quai Branly MuseumThe museum opened June 20th 2006 and its architecture (amazing) was made by Jean Nouvel.

That museum is amazing by its collections, so rich, and also by its agenda with all the lectures, projections, events connected. It is really different than the Raustenstrauch-Joest Museum in Dusseldorf and of course I did the comparison between the two while I was visiting. My conclusion is they are different in many ways. Someone who likes the first might not like the second. The scenography, the mood, a lot is different. For me they are complementary, and here is why.

The journey starts here…

The River, by Charles Sandison 2010

The River, by Charles Sandison 2010

The mood in this museum is quite important. It feels like an in-depth journey throughout time and space. There is not too much light and you climb on that ramp to get to the exhibition room. I think the best describing word I could think of would be : mystical.

All is made to enhance the beauty that shines from the artefacts. Here before learning info about the artwork you have to take the time and observe their aesthetic.

The Quai Branly MuseumThe main colors are the red coming from the floor, the black from the shelfs and the yellow from the sporadic lights.

One thing that is amazing and quite original : the museum decided to have opened storage rooms. You can’t actually get inside of them but they are behind glass doors so you can see the items behind.

The Quai Branly MuseumThe museum is organized in 4 departments : Asia, Oceania, Americas, Africa. Something special goes through the museum it is called “The River”.

This space is entirely tactile, divided in 3 themes : map of the world seen by the Occident, organization of the landscape and the housing, relationship between the world and the afterlife.

Accessible to everyone the River was made especially for visually disabled visitors : texts in Braille, tactile reliefs, adapted screens.

The River

The River

The Quai Branly MuseumIn different places you have these little nooks with a place to seat and a tactile screen you can learn more about the exhibition.

It is a good idea to spend some time there because as I said earlier the showcases don’t give much information. The main idea is to present the item as a piece of art and to magnify it. The Quai Branly Museum

The Quai Branly MuseumI like the way the information about the artwork was scenographed. In many places it is on the side of the showcase so your eyes first look at the artefact and then go to find the information about it.

Hmong skirt, Vietnam, beginning of the 20th century

Hmong skirt, Vietnam, beginning of the 20th century

IMG_5310In all department you can also find that kind of table with a worldmap, an exhibition room map and some pictures of artworks.

The Quai Branly Museum

A few spaces are quite interesting but I either ended up with not-so-great pictures or I could not took some.

There is a booth called The Sandogi, Senoufo divination. It  has the same aspect as the River, you can view a video about a consultation of an old man (The Senoufo) who reads answers from a divination into different objects. (Subsaharan countries).

Another room is a Music Box, “an area for experiencing music collectively”, the programs associate music and the places of their performance, their meaning and their use.

I really enjoyed that museum who puts the aesthetic first. It is a different kind of exhibition complementary to the didactic one which is unfortunately forgotten sometimes.

Here are the rest of the pictures I took which I think speak for themselves.

Warrior Armor, Indonesia, Nias, beginning of the 20th century

Warrior Armor, Indonesia, Nias, beginning of the 20th century

Ancestor Figures, Indonesia, Papouasie occidental, beginning of the 20th century

Ancestor Figures, Indonesia, Papouasie occidental, beginning of the 20th century

Ciwara Society Headdress, before 1930

Ciwara Society Headdress, before 1930

I really enjoyed this one, it is too rare to see contemporary aboriginal paintings.

Contemporary Aboriginal Painting, by Rover Thomas, 1989

Contemporary Aboriginal Painting, by Rover Thomas, 1989

The Quai Branly Museum

Dogons Masks

Dogons Masks

The Quai Branly MuseumEnd the journey ends…

The Quai Branly MuseumThanks for visiting I hope you enjoyed the little tour, to learn more about the Quai Branly Museum :

http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/

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2 responses to “Where cultures interact… / Là où dialoguent les cultures…

  1. Pingback: 1 Exhibition + 1 Look : Vivid Memories : A History of Aboriginal Art |·

  2. Pingback: 1 LOOK + 1 Expo : Tatoueurs, Tatoués / tattooists, tattooed |·

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