Tag Archives: globalization

Romanian Scenes at Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton

As someone who professionally observes economic and political developments in different fast-developing emerging markets, I find it particularly interesting what Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton is doing. Since 2006 they have organized three contemporary art exhibitions per year, gathering artists from all over the world (but mainly from emerging markets) to show their work around different themes such as travel, heritage, art and fashion. These themes are then presented in the light of globalization, localisation, conflicting identities and nostalgia that compete to win the future in so many countries today, and as one could image, the result of intriguing!

I have followed Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton exhibitions since the beginning and some of my personal highlights are the very first exhibition called Métamorphoses (presenting the South Korean artist Sookyung Yee, who was also portrayed at FIAC 2013) and Somewhere Else (another great presentation of today’s globalized world and identity struggles seen through the eyes of artists).

Sergiu Toma The Astronomer

Last Sunday I went to see the latest production of Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton: Romanian Scenes. The exhibition combines works from artists that come from two different eras and two different artistically-important locations. Era-wise, there are those from the Communist/Soviet/Cold War period and those who emerged after the collapse of the great Soviet power. Geographically, Bucharest is presented as the more traditional home and the artistic capital of the country, whereas Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania is portrayed as “today’s creative epicenter”.

The exhibition provides an intriguing opportunity to time travel in the past and the future of Romania as well as to learn more about this grand European nation. Indeed, a highly recommended exhibition, but hurry up: Romanian Scenes ends January 12!

Lastly, the million-dollar view of Paris and Parisian architecture you get from Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton is another good reason to head toward avenue des Champs Elysées… Just don’t be afraid of the dark (you will see why)!

Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton (http://www.louisvuitton-espaceculturel.com)

Main entrance: 60, rue de Bassano, 75008 Paris
Entrance by the Louis Vuitton shop: 101, avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 12am to 7pm; Sun 11am to 7pm (no entrance fee and open on French holidays)

PS The copyright of the image goes to  Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, whose press service I thank for kind cooperation with Pearlspotting. 

FIAC 2013

Since my first visit to FIAC in October 1999, I have tried to go back whenever I am in Paris. To me, FIAC is an important window to the contemporary art scene that is not limited to France and the francophone world. It gives me a concrete way to witness how our globalized world is changing, and even if old European cities are still strongly represented, galleries and artists from India, South Korea and Israel are definitely gaining a solid position in the international art world.  FIAC 2013

For example, Yeesookyung is a South Korean artist living in Seoul. We saw her work at Espace Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2008 and recognized her work immediately at FIAC (she reconstructs trashed ceramic vases).Yeesookyung

Jitish Kallat is a Mumbai-based artist whose work reflects the diversified yet complex character of his home city. I am curious to know the story behind this sculpture of four men, so if you know something, please let me know! Otherwise I will pay a visit to Daniel Templon gallery.. (or ask my Mumbai friends!).Jitish Kallat

It would be difficult to make an exhaustive summary of everything I saw at FIAC, but some other interesting art pieces are pictured below:

Suenos by Jason Martin (2012): Jason Martin

Lisa by John DeAndrea (2005): Lisa by John DeAndrea

Indeed, this year we saw many real-life size sculptures of human beings, which made me leave FIAC wondering how the global crisis are influencing the artists’ works….?

PS In addition to the high-quality art, I love FIAC because of its stunning venue: le Grand Palais built in the Belle Epoque era. To see an exhibition at le Grand Palais should be on everyone’s “once in a life time” list so try to make a stop there during your next visit to Paris!

Links to the artists:



http://www.artnet.com/artists/jason-martin-2/ (Note to my Finnish friends: Jason Martin exhibited at Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki 2012)



Making friends over the Indian Ocean

Posting a photo of a Japanese bowl cannot be anything too exciting, right?

Well, continue reading. I will tell you about a lovely meeting that took place during an Air Tanzania flight from Mauritius to Dar Es Salaam some years ago. Japanese bowlThe project I was working for in Dar Es Salaam was coming to end. Two colleagues had left the country, leaving me alone in this huge three-bedroom apartment near the Sheraton Hotel. I knew there was an abundance of things to wrap up professionally, but I also knew that I had a free return ticket to Mauritius to use –a corporate gift from someone working for Air Tanzania. So, what did I do? During the last weeks of the project I worked like crazy, allowing myself to catch a flight to Mauritius with a good conscience on August 3, 2000!mauritius stampsDuring my stay in Mauritius, a lush, volcanic island in the western part of the Indian Ocean, I mainly dived. I had just completed my SSI Open Water Diver course and Mauritius is famous for rich sea life. When I didn’t dive, I moved to a different part of the island, practicing my limited French with whoever was patient enough to listen to me.

But back to the Japanase bowl!

On my way back on August 8, I was seated next to a Japanese couple. We begun talking, exchanged personal and professional information, and I learned that the couple plans to stay for a week in Dar Es Salaam because they are in used cars’ trading business. I don’t remember how the idea came to me, but I suggested they stay with me –in the flat paid by the company, which has two empty bedrooms. To my surprise (and probably to theirs, too), the couple said yes!

During that week, I was busy writing and editing, and the couple was engaged in closing car deals. When I came home from occasional meetings in town and opened the door, the couple had cooked Japanese food for dinner. I already had a cook, but my Tanzanian cook was specialized in Swahili dishes, not in maki and miso, so it was a refreshing change to eat differently.

Eventually, the couple left. Soon after them, I left Dar Es Salaam, too. Our co-habitation had ended smoothly, and until now, we still sometimes talk by email. Last Sunday, when I was emptying our cellar in Paris, I came across this bowl, that traveled with me from Tanzania to Paris. Even within Paris, this bowl has moved from one arrondissement to another, and it is only now, thirteen years later that I actually refound it. This is the bowl the couple served my miso soup in.

Isn’t this such a lovely story?!  I have plenty of stories like this and I think they should be told to remind us of positive consequences of globalization. What do you think?

PS Attention those of you who follow me on WordPress Reader: there was an issue with the RSS feed, and nine of my last posts have not shown up.  You may want to check some of the last ones out. There is a review on the famous Le Train Bleu restaurant https://pearlspotting.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/le-train-bleu-exquisite-and-elegant/ and several articles on my trip to Crete (search by “Crete” tag). Enjoy!