The Sixth Week


The exhibition La mécanique des dessous (Underwear Uncovered)
 
This exhibition presents all sorts of devices that women and men used, since the 14th century, to shape their silhouettes according to the fashion of the moment. To formulate it with other words, this is the history of the long metamorphosis of the bodies to comply to the fashion dictates.
 
Exactly, what kind of devices might have been used, through the last 700 years, to achieve a waist as thin as a bee’s, to the point of asphyxiation? What was the trick to show off pushed up breasts reaching to the throat? How did they manage to exaggerate the hips to the point of needing 3 chairs to sit down? In the Victorian era, what kind of basket was used to extremely push up the derriere?
 
Men also used conning to oversize their pectorals; to make super muscular calves; and to over show their male attributes. Were available, in all sizes, some shells to put in the pants over the penis, advantaging greatly the wearer. Was it really useful to seduce the ladies?
 
Under the beautiful garments those devices were simply some structures, whale corsets, hoop padding, lacings, hinges, zippers, springs and elastic fabric. But to position them efficiently was purely an art.
 
This exhibition gathers over 200 baskets, crinolines, stomach belts, faux-culs, sheaths and push-ups provided by private collectors or public museums. People visiting the exhibition can try on those accessories (over their clothes) to truly feel the sensations of being choked, imprisoned, confined and have difficulties to move around. Of course, that was the price to pay to parade elegantly, to have perfect silhouettes: the precise quality of women of the highest extract. Nowadays, we still say “One must suffer to be beautiful”. Certainly this expression makes reference to those former eras.
 
The installation of the exhibition also includes a little cinema theater. The movies sequences show actors, from famous movies, putting on clothes, in different steps of their complex vestures. Some of those little movies are so funny!

 


 
 


 
 

 
Trompe l’oeil: an exhibition of make believe, optical illusion at the Museum of Decorative Arts.
 
This exhibition is very entertaining. The art of Trompe l’oeil exists since the Classical antiquity, some evidences of it have been discovered in mosaics. More recently many materials have been used to produce imitations: paper can imitate marble; rhinestones can mimic diamonds; and linoleum can make believe wood floor.
 
Some objects are a front for other objects: embroidery may create a faked scarf over a gown; an empty book may hide jewels; and painted faked drawers may dissimulate doors. Even a naked body may fool the viewer’s eye. It suffices to paint an outfit on the skin and the person isn’t really naked anymore...
 
This exhibition shows over 400 examples of deceiving objects. A real delight.





Stool

 

 


Wardrobe


An organ concert at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris
 
I live almost under the bell towers of Notre-Dame of Paris. How can I resist to the temptation to go to a concert of its organ?
 
The gigantic music instrument occupies all the available room at the back of the cathedral, hanging up in the air between the big stained glass rose window and the main entrance.
 
The organist, Johann Vexo, played pieces by Louis Vierne, Franck Cesar and Maurice Duruflé Veni Creator. The latter piece gave the opportunity of opening all bellows of the instrument. Believe me, it produced an impressive effect and made me humble in front of its might.
 
For many minutes the music wrapped me completely making oblivious anything else. The wave of musical notes resonated between the huge columns and flew away to the vault ceiling. Long after the organist had finished to touch the keyboard the music continued to reverberate.
 
Organs are mighty music instruments, Notre-Dame’s instrument fits well the gigantic church!

 



Johann Vexo plays Louis Vierne: Symphonie II at Notre Dame Cathedral



 

Visiting my neighbor Redouane Chalaf, painting artist from Morocco
 
I like to visit my neighbors at their open house events. Usually I offer them a little gift: chocolate, fruits, flowers. This is the way I express my gratitude for their generosity in opening their secret gardens.
 
The inspiration of Redouane Chalaf is a process of first an artistic research followed by the actual painting. His most recent paintings are inspired by a book about insanity and the general perception of it, through the History and human cultures. Redouane cuts out some pages from the book in question, he glues them on the painting canvas and then he properly begins to paint his work. The result is the predominance of the black color and the theme of a curled up man in his painting of the present period.
 
I sincerely hope that what I see in his paintings isn’t what he experiences during his Paris journey. Unfortunately I hadn’t the opportunity to ask him directly.

 

Redouane Chalaf



The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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