when i went to wait in line at the Opéra Bastille last night, it turned out that there was no opera on. tant pis! i really need to start planning my days better. so i sat at the top of the stairs of the opera house and watched paris go by. i observed that at any given moment, there was always a couple kissing. it seemed like a kissing marathon or something. one couple would stop, and immediately another would start. i think it is mainly the tourists who kiss in paris – the parisians mainly just walk fast and talk fast and do mysterious parisian things in private.
when i was finished my sandwich, i went into the FNAC music store closeby, which is like the HMV of paris. or so i thought. i have never seen such a large and good collection of opera! they have several full versions of all of the standard operas, and they also have a large section of classical music organized by ARTIST – none of this non-descript recording where the artists name is nowhere to be found. i was in heaven.
when i rounded the corner, i found an equally large and diverse section full of world music! there was a whole aisle full of music from spanish speaking countries – it took all my willpower to keep from buying salsa and tango CDs. so. if anyone is longing for some music that you cannot find in canada, let me know and i will probably be able to find it.


walking this morning, i realized that i love my quartier. i was walking down the street and 3 shopkeepers recognized me and wished bonne journée. it felt like wolseley, or steinbach, or home.

i have started reading baudelaire’s critiques d’art – the one i am reading is called ‘le peintre de la vie moderne.’ he is very opinionated and honest, and very interesting to read (and not too hard, obviously, because i can understand what he is saying.) he thinks that painting beautiful things that dont matter is wrong (for example, the life of the bourgeoisie), and he lists artists that are guilty of it. reading baudelaire has been a bit like reading the bible – some things that he condemns i find myself guilty of. that is what makes it fascinating to read.

reflections on musée rodin

going to a museum that highlights only one artist is too overwhelming for me. i was overwhelmed in winnipeg at the rodin exposition, but it was not so much that could no longer enjoy it. musée rodin is small, but it is packed full. rodins sculptures have so much tension and so much emotion and desire that by the time i visited the final room, my emotions had shut off. i had to look around the room and choose one artwork to focus on, and fully appreciate. is this normal?

there is also an exposition temporaire on right now; rodins erotic drawings. they were fascinating and very well-presented. (there were also quotes of rilkes on the wall, which gave me a thrill.) i was amazed to see that the way rodin draws is exactly the way we are learning to draw nudes in kathy burkes figure drawing class. rodin had the models pose in ‘action’ for one minute, and during that minute he did not look at the paper – he only looked at the model. the drawings are not perfect likenesses, but they have a sense of movement and of the persons presence that one does not often see.
there was a description of this phenomenon on the wall that i will try to translate:
“To define an erotic drawing, is that the empathy, or the particular relationship that exists between the artist and his model in the moment of the realization of the work, there is maintained and continues to act between the drawing and the viewer because of the special attention that presides over its moment of creation.”
also…
“the drawings became real and acquired their aesthetic value the moment their creation was influenced by desire.”
this is a daunting idea which i am not sure is necessary to incorporate into my own work. am i to let desire influence every drawing i make of a person in an erotic pose? i dont think so. it just adds another dimension to the work.

i enjoyed particularly the ‘black drawings’ – the drawings that were done in preparation for the sculpting of the gates of hell. here, he drew the figures in litho; then ‘sculpted’ them on the page with gouache. they are so life-like, but they feel raw and expressive at the same time.

i found it interesting that they incorporated several of rodins sculptures into the exhibit, and it was a relief from all of the drawing… age of bronze (because of the expressiveness and simultaneous realism of the body), the athletic version of balzac (for reasons obvious to whoever has seen the sculpture), and crouching woman because she looks like a sculpted version of the women in the drawings. also included was the plaster of mary magdelene with jesus on the cross… !!! to include this sculpture in the erotic drawings exhibit is a bit controversial, but no one seemed to bat an eye.
another interesting point is that there were only two drawings of men in the exhibit, except when presented with a woman, and there were mostly men viewing the exposition.

i did not see the garden because i intend to go in spring, when the flowers are blooming (and the place is crawling with tourists).


i had intentions to visit les invalides quickly after i exited the museum, but this is one place where i cant get in for free. i will go when i have a few hours to wander around.

so – i know for sure that there is an opera on tonight, and i intend to attend.
bon weekend, tout le monde, et à lundi…