On Thursday, I went to the Palais de Tokyo to view their current exhibit, “The Superdome”. Yes, it is referring to the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Why an exposition in honor of this stadium? According to their explanation, the Superdome has seen events of every extreme of emotions – Hurricane Katrina, famous concerts, famous people. Similarly, the exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo is a display of extremes. It consists of five works by six artists.
The first work that you encounter is by an artist Arcangelo Sassolino, called Afasia 1. It’s a nitrogen powered machine that projects empty beer bottles toward a board, shattering them. Another equally bizarre and interesting work is a room filled with Darth Vader helmets (Last Manoeuvres in the Dark, by Fabien Giraud and Raphael Siboni). I’m not sure I understood the meaning behind all of these contemporary works, but regardless of my comprehension, they are cool to look at. I suggest asking for a copy of the Palais de Tokyo magazine at the ticket desk, because it includes explanations and pictures that are helpful in understanding (or at least trying to understand) the thoughts behind the work. While you are visiting the Palais de Tokyo, you will also see some official looking people sitting in chairs. These are facilitators, and they are there to help answer any questions about the exposition. They are friendly and knowledgeable about the exhibit. Look for the badge though – other people sitting in chairs may just be part of the exhibit…
One exposition, Dump, by artist Christoph Buchel, takes a little more planning to visit. From the outside, the exposition looks exactly as the name suggests – a giant pile of trash filling a room. This installation is interactive, and to fully experience it, you crawl through a tunnel leading deep into the pile. Visitors are allowed to enter two at a time, and each entrance takes 15-20 minutes. However, to enter the tunnel, you have to put your name on a list and wait your turn. When I went at 7 pm, all the time slots were taken right up until 11:30 pm (at which time the tunnel is closed). The guards suggested coming right at noon to put your name on the list. Since the visits last only twenty minutes, they said that usually you won’t have to wait long before your turn.
So words of advice, if you want to explore Dump, make sure to go early in the day to reserve your spot (talk to the facilitators by the tunnel). Also, occasionally the beer bottle launcher runs out of supplies, so be aware of that as well. As much as I like the hours that the Palais de Tokyo keeps, for this exposition, my suggestion is still to go as early in the day as possible.
The Superdome exposition will be displayed until August 24th. It’s a very contemporary exhibit, but I thoroughly enjoyed exploring it.