Exhibition review: Double Je | Palais de Tokyo
As the third edition of MuseumWeek finishes today, we decided to write about one of our exhibition crushes. MuseumWeek is the biggest cultural event happening on all forms of social media. This year, more than 3000 cultural institutions took part, allowing a privileged access to museums exhibitions and the people behind them. Let’s go to France where the MuseumWeek project was born.
A murder has been committed.
Ganel Todanais, a French craftsman extremely jealous of his rival Natan de Galois, surrendered to the police, his hands still shaking.
Franck Thilliez is the author of this short crime story written for the immersive exhibition Double Je currently on display at Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
First, let’s focus on the title: Double Je, translated as Double I but it could also allude to Double game (jeux in French). The visitor steps into this morbid role game where he will discover the two craftsmen private life by walking into both their homes and their studios. Will you play the role of the investigator, the criminal or the victim?
As you walk through the various rooms, you will not see labels with the names of artists and craftsmen. Everything is indeed done to help the visitors ease into the atmosphere and put themselves into an investigator’s shoes. You will experience a live game of Cluedo and be the active interpreters of the story. The scenography is immersive and unusual in its shape as well as being very detail-oriented. Evidence can be hidden anywhere and you will need to be curious and focused to find the clues that will lead you to the solution.
As you enter the space, suspenseful music is guiding you toward the first room. A few questions arise from the very beginning: Where am I? What happened here? Soon followed by, why, who and how? You want to know.
The setting of Nathan’s house, studio and even garage is extremely realistic. The studio is at the cutting edge of technology presenting computers and 3D printers allowing the visitors to know more about craftsmanship usually hidden behind the scenes.
Before reaching Ganel’s studio, you will cross a psychological maze created by the Brazilian artist Janaina Mello Landini (first picture). This metaphorical transition prepares you to go deeper, to the darker part of the self. Ganel’s studio is indeed much more gloomy than the previous setting: the room is darker and the atmosphere heavier. The suspense is built up and increases as you proceed through the following exhibition rooms. We are getting closer to the climax of the story…
This exhibition addresses the theme of duality at various levels. It presents the story of two craftsmen in two spaces that can be studios but also crime scenes. Most importantly, it addresses the psychological duality that Ganel is facing within himself. Criminal or artist?
The exhibition is a dialogue between artists, craftsmen and criminals. It questions where the boundary is, as they all have in common the obsession with details. Double Je, double I is about me, myself and I and the ego of the artist. While artists are under the spotlight, craftsmen’s works stay very often in the shadow.
The exhibition has been created through a partnership with Bettencourt Schueller Foundation who is committed to show the contemporaneity of craftsmanship. More than two hundred works have been included in the exhibition presenting various craftsmen practices including embroidery.
We won’t reveal more details as we don’t want to spoil your experience and highly recommend popping in if you are in Paris. It might be even better to visit the exhibition at night as Palais de Tokyo is open until midnight.
Are you ready to resolve this enigma?
Photos: Sarah Lacombe
Double Je, still on until 26th May 2016.
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du président Wilson
75116 Paris 16