During our vacation in Paris we saw not only the typical tourist attractions, but also were lucky to chance upon some exciting temporary exhibitions, one of which happened to be Circuits Bijoux: Dans la ligne de mire in Les Arts Décoratifs. We want to share this with you particularly because of the unusual idea for the arrangement of the exhibition. (Photo above by the organizers.)
We visited the museum to see toys and furniture after a whole day of looking at paintings and sculptures and were surprised to come upon preparations for a temporary exhibition: surprised, because the preparations did not take place in a closed off section of the museum but among the regular exhibits, marked with square stickers and an aura of surrealism:
(Also, sorry for the touristy photos but we don’t like to travel with a heavy camera.)
As the museum closed early that day we returned two days later to look at more furniture, only to find a huge line at the entrance. It turned out to be the opening of the exhibition and if you were there we were very spottable as the completely unglamorous people.
Circuits Bijoux, judging by the website, is a large event that promotes contemporary jewelry design in France and the exhibition in Les Arts Décoratifs is only one of associated events. It shows not only jewelry but also installations and photographs and if you’re around you should definitely visit (it’s open till March) but we paid more attention to the arrangement than anything else.
In fact, the regular exhibition of Les Arts Décoratifs is interesting in places but quite random and leaves you wanting for more. I suppose someone who lives in Paris wouldn’t necessarily feel any need to visit the dusty baroque sofas and Napoleonic lamps. However, placing the modern jewelry among old exhibit accomplishes two things at once: it enlivens the old show and puts the new works in context. It also turns the museum visit into a children’s game where you have to search for the elements of the exhibition you came to see among things which are not a part of the show at all. (I’m not sure how well the involvement part worked though because some of the visitors, while breathtakingly stylized and beautiful, looked bored to death – but maybe they were forced to come).
To make the spotting game quite easy a brilliant design solution is used: the identity of the event is in neon pink that really stands out.
The exhibits are marked with pink tape and signed nearby on simple rectangular stands.
This is completed with faultless (if not that exciting) typography and quite a lovely logo that combines a diamond, circuits, C and B (I do think they should use the logo more but the website uses something else).
The final touch to make the exhibition fun is how the authors used the little spaces that recreate old interiors. They placed there mannequins overburdened with jewelry to create quite fascinating, if creepy, scenes (which, I guess, explains the full name of the exhibition, the scènes du bijou contemporain en France part).
So, whether you’re a fan of jewelry of not, if you’re lucky enough to be in Paris till March, consider visiting Les Arts Décoratifs, because this is one of the most interestingly arranged exhibitions we’ve ever stumbled upon.