Thursday, 24 May 2012

Adieu, Camille and Paul

A friend who is visiting Jyväskylä tells me that there is a new art gallery on Kauppakatu street, displaying works by two French artists. I'm so glad I check the next day what she was talking about because the gallery is there for a weekend only - and Sunday May 18 is the very last day you can visit it. It means another walk on the same day then... To visit Äkkigalleria 15, a pop-up or nomadic art gallery that comes and goes in Jyväskylä whenever there is an interesting project and a good space available for a short while.
The artists are Camille Girard and Paul Brunet, or Camille+Paul, or C+P, who have just spent three weeks in Jyväskylä at an artists's residence, all the time getting familiar with their surroundings, picking up vibes, moments and even little objects to create works of art. This exhibition features the results. Right in front of the window there is a scene from which the artists seem to have just stepped out:  a brush, watercolours, a glass of water, Finnish author Arto Paasilinna's novel The Year of the Hare (Jäniksen vuosi, in French Le lièvre de Vatanen)
but there's also a Camille+Paul version of the cover of the French paperback! This is the first piece of work I look at - and when I continue, I can only say that no photograph can can do justice to C+P's work, their great drawings or paintings.
On the wall there are some series of works that make you smile, and with a closer look you can recognize what they are made of. Oh no, my favourite is already sold!
If you go back to the window sill, you can see what where the inspiration to the (smiling) faces came from - besides coming from Jyväskylä. And yes, one of them dates back to the first of May.
Some of the artwork is easily recognizable in Jyväskylä - for example the picture of the mural painting by Jaakko Valo that is literally on the other side of the wall of the art gallery! The colours in Camille and Paul version of it are however a lot brighter than those of the original today.

There is something very captivating in Camille and Paul's work. You simply can't pass them by very quickly, you want to take a close look. I don't always feel like that in an art exhibition. The Canadian-born artist and curator of the exhibition, Anna Ruth, sits patiently on a stool in the corner while I proceed slowly from one picture to another.
Right next to the guest book, there is a small booklet that looks like a sketchbook. Most of the pages of the sketchbook are white but there are some drawings... Like this delicately drawn tree which Camille & Paul have dated dimanche 29 avril 2012, a few Sundays back. I sincerely hope their time in Jyväskylä gave them something deep and memorable... The visitors to this exhibition got a new look at Jyväskylä through the details caught by the artists! Thank you, Camille and Paul.

Äkkigalleria 15, the pop-up gallery is now gone. You never know where or when it will appear next time...

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