Stopping Kinetic Art Show, by IMP-ulse

Posted by Kitara Julian On 9:20 AM
In 1955 I was released from the TB sanatorium. Although cured, the doctors told me to look after myself. ‘No bars, no smoking, no gallivanting or bohemian life; moderate intake of spirits; a well-balanced diet, and lots of fruit and vegetables”.

However, during my three years of illness, I’d read and studied a great deal about the ‘French School’ and now I wanted to return to Paris and visit its famous streets where the great masters had roamed.

I had embarked unknowingly on what would be the start of a career in art. I spent three months in the Ville Lumiere and worked en plein air. (On yesterday’s post you can see “Montmartre” and today “Lapin Agile”, pastel, 1956.)

Lapin Agile is a legendary landmark in Montmartre, the place where artists and bohemians gathered, exchanged philosophies and views. Today it’s a “must” on the tourist track.

Ten years later in May, 1966 I found myself back in Paris, for my solo exhibition at Galerie Cazanave on rue de Boetie, just off Champs-Elysees. The exhibition was opened by Jules Leger, then Canada’s Ambassador to France and later Governor General of Canada.

That month I visited several museums including the Jeu de Paume and the Musee d’art moderne, which featured a Kinetic Art show. A couple of Alexander Calder’s mobiles swayed up high, while a few other works standing on the floor were also designed for perpetual movement.

But most of the other works only ‘moved’ because they were plugged in. Completely dependent on electric energy.

On some ‘imp-ulse’, I pulled the plugs! All those works came to an abrupt halt.

The guard came running over muttering something about calling the police and immediately put the plugs back in. It was some commotion, ‘en francais’, and theatrics.

(Of course it was not very sporty of me, to do this to my fellow artists.) Luckily I had an invitation with me to my own exhibition. The guard studied it carefully, and realized I was an artist (and from Canada). He mellowed a bit. Ha! Un blague, hein?” (“A joke, eh?”) However, he did go and check the newspaper to verify if the advertisement that I’d told him about for my show was in it. Thus confirmed, he smiled and said, “Ah, les bohemians, les artistes sont droles!” Ouff, I was lucky he didn’t call the police. Au revoir! Henri

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