Walking into Palais de Tokyo in Paris and looking up to see the silhouettes of people crawling through a sci-fi looking tunnel constructed solely out of 44 kilometres of tape is not something that one expects to see or imagine to be structurally sound. This solid sculpture, an œuvre d’art created by art collective Numen/For Use, does a perfect job in welcoming visitors into the immersive world of Inside, the museum’s latest exhibition.
This world, brought to us by curators Jean de Loisy, Daria de Beauvais and Katell Jaffrès, has been designed to take visitors on an “immense odyssey, both physical and psychological,” using carefully selected and commissioned art as a metaphor which, as well as leading guests through two floors of the museum, also leads them within themselves and to the core of their inner being. This may all sound a bit heavy for a light afternoon of museum-going, but the results give for a highly fascinating and sensorial experience that will indeed leave your existential and emotional senses tantalised and intrigued.
Inside fully succeeds in allowing visitors to become absorbed in the world Palais de Tokyo has created, in a way that lets you draw true emotion from the art, instead of simply appreciating it passively. The exhibition achieves this by leading guests so seamlessly from room to room that one never has a chance to step out of the Inside experience, only delve further into each piece as the tour continues. The deeper you venture into the exhibition, the more you feel as if you have stumbled down the rabbit hole.
Housing works from over 30 artists from around the world, Inside explores different emotional, physiological, spiritual and physical states. Laughter, as we watch a film by Artur Zmijewski in which a group of naked men and women play tag in a dark room; death, in a piece by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook where she tends to unclaimed bodies in a morgue by reading and singing to them, thus prolonging links between the living and the dead; vulnerability, stepping into a fluorescent white room filled with sculptures of trees constructed by Christophe Berdaguer and Marie Péjus from drawings by patients receiving psychoanalysis; and claustrophobia, from both the first piece by Numen/For Use, and the last by Bruce Nauman in which visitors are led out of the labyrinth that is Inside by voices instructing to, “get out of my mind, get out of this room.”
The list of emotions presented and experienced during this tour is extensive, however the focus point of this “risky voyage” is ever present. The removal of distractions by way of the fluidity of the exhibition forces one, as promised, to eventually come face-to-face with one’s own emotions in a way that will leave you meditating long after on what you experienced. Journeying through Inside is an immersive emotional rollercoaster, “a deep, troubling and unexpected experience…” but in the best possible way.
Inside is showing at Palais de Tokyo, Paris from now until January 11th 2015. For more information click here.
Words / Natalie Fadugba