PARIS – They met through “Meet-Up,” the global hook-up network and an underground Paris ex-pat artist gallery, I V Y paris. A few months later, a group of 25 International Artists will pull together a large exhibition that shows off the diversity of the ex-pat and artist community in Paris and promises to raise the roof on one of Paris’s most historic churches.
“It is really the 12th exhibition in the brief history of IVY Paris,” said Suzanne Hollands, I V Y founder and conceptual artist. “There was an exhibition in September 2005 Los Angeles of the original I V Y artists – also ex-pats – but this one, at La Chapelle Saint Louis de la Salpêtrière in the 13th Arrondisement is a different kettle of fish.”
Artists from Turkey, Chili, Japan, The United States, France, Benin, Scotland, Finland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and England – 25 in all – will take over La Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Pitié-Salpêtrière for a single day spectacular on May 4th. La Chapelle of la Salpetrière is one of the most interesting artist launching pads in Paris having hosted exhibitions by Nan Goldin, Anselm Kiefer and Anish Kapoor.
In 1684, Louis XIV added a “maison de force” to the grounds for prostitutes and “debauched” women detained on the orders of their husbands or families. Now it’s a normal hospital where Princess Diana was taken after her tragic death in 1998. “If something happened to Jacques Chirac,” noted Hollands, “he’d be taken to Salpêtrière, too.
The church has, oddly enough, provided a new chapter in the networking of these ex-pat artists. “It’s great to come to Paris, meet a group of like-minded artists and put up an exhibition in a beautiful space,” said Finnish photographer Vilma Pimenoff. Others are excited over the acoustics. “I’m going to use the 52-meter high building for my work–it’s a gorgeous chapel,” said Chilean sound-installation artist, César Estay-Herrera. African photographer and video artist, Dimitri Olivier Fagbohoun will show a series called “Historia,” said, “It’s a chance to show my work in an atypical art space, an historic building, something that would be hard to organize on my own.”
“The idea was to get a group show on the road,” said Hollands. “We had our first meeting at the end of January, and the majority who came to that meeting are still involved. We jointly sourced the venue and divided the work up so that those with certain skills such as graphic design did flyers, and above all, we split costs.”
IVY PARIS will include works ranging from video installations, painting, photography, acoustic pieces, embroidered sculptures, collage and a “shelter” made out of plastic bags. All of these works will be nestled in the sacristies in the church, creating a “cosmic mélange” between contemporary art and contemporary Catholicism in one of the most historic churches in Paris. (Built by Le Vau in 1660, who also designed Versailles).
The evening of the opening will include special cocktails and music by DJ Wise and Cosmoson. “The church doesn’t want us to turn the exhibition into a rave,” said Hollands, “so we’ve planned a secret after-party near the Seine where we can celebrate after all our hard work.”
Admission to the exhibition is free and there’s room for a few thousand people. “No problem,” said Hollands. The show opens at 9 am, along with morning mass. The full bodied opening begins at 6 pm on 4 May until 10 pm.
Address: 47 Bd de l’Hôpital 75013 Paris. Metro: Saint Marcel/Gare d’Austerlitz.
The exhibition is generously sponsored by San Franciso-based HIFX, a unique currency service that permits individuals and companies to send currency abroad at fixed and protected rates.