Inspired in Paris: The ISB Art Team

On October 18th, the Middle School Art Team had the unique opportunity to visit five art galleries and exhibitions in Paris. Students and teachers participating in the trip explored a wide range of different art styles, such as Contemporary Art, Photography and Fashion Design, whilst simultaneously experiencing the Parisian lifestyle and culture. The guided visits enabled us to discover numerous facts and stories that can only be learned by actually seeing and experiencing the art in context. This was certainly an unforgettable and inclusive learning experience for both experienced art students and novice art lovers.

The warm, sunny weather that greeted us and the typical French cuisine of the French Brasserie put us in the mood for our first exhibition by Daniel Arsham and Julio Le Parc. This stunning contemporary art exhibition not only presented amazing works of art right in front of us, but also gave us the opportunity to experience life inside a work of art by using 360° virtual reality technology with 3D goggles. Experiencing Le Parc's "disturbances in the artistic system" at first hand enabled those of us who had only read about it before to feel and experience the real power and sheer fun of kinetic art. We also visited the photography exhibition celebrating the amazing career of the photographer Irving Penn. Here, the guide explained in detail his creative process and how his art became politicised over time. We learned how his frustration with photographing only artificially perfect models led him to travel the world in search of more realistic images and messages. The exhibition celebrates how he found beauty in unexpected places and objects, such as old age, everyday jobs and physical imperfections. He also broke new ground with his Beyond Beauty collection by bringing indigenous people and people from different ethnic groups to the front cover of Vogue magazine. After an inspirational journey through photographic and abstract art, the team took advantage of the convenient location of the hotel to go to sample some real Japanese food art in the Japanese quarter. After an exhausting and exhilarating first day, we went to sleep full of high hopes for the next day to come.

The next morning more than lived up to our expectations. Everyone woke up looking forward to the dizzy mix of symmetrical photography and high class fashion ahead of us. We headed to the art gallery Jeu de Paume to learn and see some of Albert Renger-Patzsch's amazing photography techniques. The tour guide helped us understand how he was different from most other photographers due to his unique way of finding patterns and symmetry in everything and his interesting juxtaposition of industrial landscapes and country scenes. We were inspired to find patterns that we wouldn't see normally and to make connections between seemingly different contexts. After the visit, we headed to the Museum of Decorative Arts (Musée des Arts Décoratifs), situated in a wing of the Louvre to see the exhibition that Celebrated 70 years of the famous couturier Christian Dior. This guided tour took us behind the scenes of the famous Maison Dior, and showed us how each dress has its own magic and story. By studying Dior's use of one idea as a source for four different dress designs, we were inspired to create our own dresses using his techniques. After some free time to explore the area on our own and reflect on the day's artistic journey, we headed back to the hotel, where we got ready to leave Paris.

Those two days were extraordinary for everyone. Being able to learn techniques from some of the greatest artists is really a magical and precious experience. The museums, galleries and sites that we visited made this trip unforgettable for us all, teaching us things we could never learn in the classroom and giving us the opportunity to see and experience masterpieces at first hand. We all returned brimming with ideas to use in our own artwork and eager to share what we had learned with family and friends. The MS Art team brought us together gave us all this amazing opportunity to explore and be inspired by some of the very best design, photography and art. For those of us who were privileged enough to take part, this trip will forever stay in our memory.

Article written by Luísa, Grade 9 MS Art Team Member