The Monumenta Expo, One of Paris' Summer Cultural Highlights

Every year in summer, the Monumenta exhibition calls visitors into seeing the work of a new artist. This year, Anish Kapoor filled the Grand Palais hall with an overwhelming artwork. Its size reshaped perspective and has made me feel like a small satellite with a camera circling a moon.

Summer is almost over and September brings “La rentrée” in Paris. This French expression implies both: ‘on rentre des vacances’ (we return from holidays) and ‘on rentre à Paris’ (we return to Paris).

It felt strange the first time the concept was explained to me. But now, with more Parisian summers behind me, I truly feel the way the city changes its cultural pace in August as if hibernating for a short sleep. For this time, Paris is mainly a tourist city as most of the French go on holidays (generally for the typical photosynthesis provided by the South of France). The “awakening” starts in September…

But before focusing on the new and several cultural events not to be missed, I would like to present to you what is for me, one of the cultural highlights of this summer in Paris: the MONUMENTA. A breathtaking exhibition held at the Grand Palais from the 11th of May to the 23rd of Juin 2011 that has swept me off my feet.

While arriving at the front of the Grand Palais, we stumbled upon an hour long waiting line. Almost discouraged, we thought of leaving. Big exhibitions in Paris are known to attract such a large number of visitors that a swift entry is rarely obtained. Still, every time I cannot stop asking myself if the wait will be worthwhile. Yet, 30 seconds after entering the big hall of the Grand Palais for the Monumenta, I had my answer: Yes, a thousand times YES.

This year, 2011, a huge piece of art by Anish Kapoor engulfed the interior of the Grand Palais. It took us a while to figure out the artwork complete shape. But its amazing color, together with the shadows from the glass ceiling, were spectacular. I was left with the perfect scenario for some photos! And lucky me, I had my LC-A+ loaded with a lomography redscale film weaving an almost Martian world that interlaces with my own full color memories of the place.

I also decided to leave home with a second camera in my purse (one of the perks of being a girl), the elected one was a Diana Mini. ;D

The time that took ourselves to appreciate the marvel of this masterpiece encouraged us to queue in another line. And, after a while (here I completely lost track of time) we entered what seemed to be one of these huge balls.

Once inside, we were immersed in a deep and evolving red, with different patterns of shadows that we realized were changing depending on the light from outside. This combined with the sound people were doing, from knocking to yelling outside of the artwork made the whole experience just amazing! For those few minutes our world was changed, merging our own existence with that of this incredible object.

This was the fourth Monumenta incarnation, my first unfortunately, the mere size of the Parisian culture scene sometimes prevents me from being aware of everything going on. This also prompted me to write you this article, this expo is a must see!

I am already looking forward to next year’s MONUMENTA! Hope you are too.

If you want to know more about the artist Anish Kapoor please go to and check out the press communication in English.

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written by redtulip on 2011-09-16 in #world #locations #monumenta #summer #redtulip #art-and-culture #paris #select-type-of-location #grand-palais

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