Until June 18th 2016 at the Grand Palais, Paris, there will be a 250-meter skeletal serpent. Why – you ask? Well, franco-chinese artist Huang Yong Ping has formed an immense immersive installation for Monumenta — now in its 7th edition. So, if you’re looking for Paris events to attend to, you can’t miss this one.
Since 2007, each year Monumenta has invited an artist with an international reputation to take on the Nave of the Grand Palais, an immense 13,500m2 glass dome, 35-metres high. This year, ‘Empires’ was organized by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in collaboration with the french ministry of culture and communication and is the answer to anyone in search of things to do in Paris this spring.
Huang Yong Ping created an immense immersive installation. All was installed beneath the gigantic glass dome nave of Paris’ Grand Palais, and intends to serve as a symbol of today’s economic landscape. The spectacular project consists of a colorful architecture of eight islands, over which looms a structure whose drop shadow, through both its direction and form, combines with that of the metal skeleton of the glass dome. Standing back in the central Grande Allée, this perspective allows visitors to fully appreciate the entire installation and the scale of the Nave, which the artist is taking on.
After Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra, Christian Boltanski, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Huang Yong Ping, the true founder of contemporary art in China, who now lives and works in France, takes up the challenge of filling the Nave of the Grand Palais with masterful works designed for the occasion.
Huang Yong Ping uses the architecture of the industrial-age Grand Palais to represent political and economic powers, the rise of new geographical regions, the decline of ancient empires and the arranged emergence of new candidates for power.
The installation comprises a vibrant architectural arrangement of eight ‘islands’ interspersed with oversized objects, over which looms an enormous skeletal frame of a snake. The massive bone structure of the serpent spans a total of 254 meters in length, weaving in and around the nave of the Grand Palais. The sculpture comprises 316 vertebrae and 568 cast aluminum ribs assembled around a central tube and distributed over 28 steel posts.
The serpent is configured around an architectural arrangement of 305 metal shipping containers that form the centerpiece of the installation. Installed on two piles of containers — forming a sort of ‘Arc de Triomphe’ above the central walkway — Yong Ping had added an oversized historical hat.
The snake’s head swerves back, its jaw locked open in a snarl at Napoleon’s hat that sits precariously on the arch of power, of triumph. ‘Napoleon’s hat [read: seat] is empty. Everyone wants to fill it,’ says Huang Yong Ping. ‘But power is a fine balance.’ This show in Paris promises to be something you don’t want to miss out. Make sure you really don’t. It’s quite a design experience!