04 October 2009

White light, white heat

In the Nuit Blanche, I'm rarely struck by the artistic value of a piece. What usually motivates me to walk around town at night, and face the crowd is the display of the piece, the use of the night, the use of the exhibition space, how it meets me randomly. It's a very paradoxical event made to bring art out of the galleries, in the urban space, at nighttime, free for everyone to encounter. But it turns out to have become less about art and more about fun. That's why videos for me hardly work in that context : you don't look at the video, you look at the light it makes around. Therefore is the Nuit Blanche a guilt trip into enjoying light and sound at night, out in the air, in dark corners, churches, window stores, gardens, old dusty historical buildings? I think so very much. Is it art? Sometimes. I remember one of the early Nuit Blanche, Alain Séchas was taking over the Palais de Versailles. It was very compelling. But I'm not sure it had to do with the Nuit Blanche itself and I gather the new look at contemporary art by the curators of Versailles had started then.
Last night, I just went around my old neighborhood Le Marais (I should post about it one day, about how it's slowly becoming soulless) where you can usually find dozens of pieces displayed around because there are so many of those old dusty historical buildings.
Nothing of note, except some sort of inflated pink ring over the Archives Nationales which makes for super cool pictures (the invasion of the alien art from Planet Crowd Pleasing?) and a lonely chair in front of gallery Yvon Lambert, which displayed in its window a video of which I don't remember the author's name nor what it was about. And yet I did sit on that chair. I guess I was too distracted by the experience...
Maybe that's why I'm still glad the event exists, first because you should always try to turn the city into a playground once in a while and second because dark corners do offer the best place for your imagination.