Jumblist Massive

>> I was struck today by a grainy newspaper image of the French artist Christian Boltanski's new awe-inspiring installation 'Personnes' as part of the Monumenta series held in the Grand Palais in Paris.  Without even reading the article, I actually wanted to cry a little at how the clothes arranged in uniform remembrance grave formations looked like the clothes of the dead; wrinkled, lived in, maybe even smelling a little.  It's weird that in a jumble sale context, this would ostensibly be an opportunity to rifle through and see what gems can dig out but in these uniform guarded squares and a gigantic landfill pile in the middle, I couldn't imagine wanting to touch the clothes at all.  I'm ill-equipped to analyse Boltanski's work but I do thank him for using clothes as an artefact of memory, of sentimentality and as things that could be intrinsic parts of a person. 

I'm simultaneously bemused and slightly saddened though that the next time I'm in the Grand Palais in March, all of this will be gone and in its place will be whatever runway setup Chanel decides upon for their A/W 10-11 show…








(Images from a selection on Flickr)

62 Replies to “Jumblist Massive”

  1. But… chanel runways are an event in themselves. Blasphemy, I know, but in recent years I’ve been lookign forward to that more than the clothes and HOW will Karl top Lily Allen + a farm + a threesome involving Lara Stone?????

  2. ^Yes they are an event but maybe not quite as moving as Boltanski’s work…I am a little sad that it can’t stay there for longer…but of course grateful that I can go see a Chanel show too…

  3. Wow, Christian Boltanski is one of my favourite artists and this work is superb. I wish I could see it in person too, I’ve only seen one of his exhibitions in real life and it was such a moving experience. The photos are always stunning, but his installations are really at their best when you can stand in the space, feel the weight of the objects, be engulfed by the light and the architecture. Thanks for posting this Susie!

  4. beautiful/thought provoking ~ i’m a bit jealous that i’m not there as well ~ thank u for sharing this, susie ~~~

  5. Wow what powerful images, so eerie and sad. Reminds me of some very sombre history lessons at school. Back in my days of Art History, I would have jumped at the chance to write about this in an essay!

  6. I looked at the images before reading what you wrote and i thought the same thing… reminded me of a graveyard… wasn’t speaking “happy” to me at all…..
    I mean like you said they are worn, and faded no bright colors/life anywhere…
    thanks for posting though… very interesting to say the least!

  7. I haven’t had an opportunity to see Boltanski’s work in real life, but that one is impressive.
    It reminds me distantly about FInnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen, but the connectivity comes from material of this particular installation, Kaarina is using used clothes in her installations, too. From small scale sculptures
    http://www.environmentalart.net/valo/kaikkonen/kaikkonenm7.jpg (well, relatively small)
    to large scale installations. This open air installation was entirely made of men’s jackets: http://www.arkitera.com/UserFiles/Image/article/babaminceketleri/01.jpg
    That one gave me very melancholic mood, too… …like all the invisible, nameless work for this society would have been made visible for a brief while…
    Just thought you might enjoy!

  8. I’m defiantly feeling the sad/depressing quality people are talking about here, as if these clothes have once been worn, loved and now discarded like old souls. I don’t know why but I always seem to attribute human qualities to inanimate objects, perhaps the reason why I am such a hoarder.

  9. @snappy That’s exactly what I thought of when I saw this set of pictures. Moving.

  10. Without having read the article and without knowing anything about the concept behind the installation, the first thought that came to mind was the environmental effect of our shopaholic tendencies. I really ought to be better about (not) amassing clothes, supporting consignment shops, finding ways to recycle old clothes – before it’s too late and I wake up in a Wall-E type world with mountains of landfills.
    On a cheerier note, you’re going to the Chanel show?! Lucky duck!!!

  11. You didn’t mention his inspiration for this so I can only assume it’s my bedroom. Actually, I did just read the link and it’s an installation that I’m sure if I saw in person would be quite overwhelming.
    His upcoming heartbeats project sounds intriguing, it makes me uneasy to think about the recorded heartbeats from all kinds of people. I’m actually a bit breathless just contemplating hearing it!

  12. For some reason, this installation makes me think about how clothing is becoming more and more disposable, and how cheap clothing made in sweatshops are filling up our landfills. I guess art is open to many different interpretations.

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