Installation of Urs Fischer in the Paris Bourse de Commerce roundabout
Installation of Urs Fischer in the Paris Stock Exchange roundabout. Photo: Hélio Campos Mello

EWe are tired of knowing that developed countries worship their history, and that several of these movements came at the expense of our very existence as underdeveloped countries, either because they took our works, our gold or our lands. 

Nevertheless, it is impossible not to be impressed by the respect for memory and the care they exercise for what was built by their ancestors. The strong state serves, among other things, to, in public-private partnerships, remodel, reform and maintain the architectural and cultural heritage of these countries. 

This is even why it has been fundamental to claim and create movements for the restitution of several African and Latin American works held by Germans, French and other Europeans. Last November, for example, 26 works of art from the former Kingdom of Dahomey, which were on display at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, were returned to Benin. Since 2020, on the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, a law has been in force that facilitates the return of works seized in the colonial period.

The reopening of the Bourse de Commerce (Exchange of Commerce) in Paris, on rue de Viarmes, with the exhibition of François Pinault collection, is undoubtedly an example of care with memory. The central building was built as a large open-air barn in the 18th century and later closed with a large iron dome.

The interior of the rotunda whose frescoes represent the history of trade between the five continents were painted at the time by Alexis-Joseph Mazerolle, Évariste Vital Luminais, Désiré François Laugée, George Clairin and Hippolyte Lucas and restored in 1998. 

Now, after three years of renovations and restorations carried out by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, ​​the building reopens its doors and gains a contemporary language without tarnishing a single space of its original structure. Today, the atrium comprises seven galleries over three floors, a grand hall and a restaurant on the top floor. 

The exposure Overture marks, in addition to the transformation of the building, the quest by the collector Pinault to value and defend values ​​about freedom, linked to diversity, to emerging positions. As in an opera, the exhibition features various “moments” and “atmospheres”, as well as different artistic practices such as sculptures, videos, installations, performances, photographs and painting, a lot of painting.  

There are not only renowned European artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Marlene Dumas, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, Rudolf Stingel and Tatiana Trouvé, among others, but also representatives of the new scene of black artists such as the North American Kerry James Marshall and the Brazilians Antonio Oba and Paulo Nazareth. In the center of the roundabout is the installation of Urs Fisher, Untitled (Giambologna), 2011, which is an exact replica of the The Abduction of the Sabine Women, a Mannerist statue from 1579-1582, produced by Giambologna. This time made of wax and steel, and with lit strands, it melts in different places and loses its shape.

Another experience worth following was the opening of the second basement, in the Palais de Tokyo, a consecrated building of contemporary art in Paris, in the 16th arrondissement next to the Eiffel Tower, which gave rise to the performance Natures Deaths (Still Life), by the German Anne Imhof. A completely open space with no partitions that allowed hosting a polyphonic work that merges space, music, installations and the participation of the bodies of about thirty guest artists.

Extremely strong, with movements and staging that reminded us all the time of the moment we lived: loneliness, fear, suffering and at times of alienation, the performance of about four hours brought together hundreds of people in safety, masks and vaccination certificate to enter. , but who also moved a little absorbed through space, as if waiting or looking for something that was lacking in each and every one in that time where uncertainty was the high note of our lives.

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