From July 22 to October 20, 2023, the Power Station of Art will present Paris Moderne 1914-1945: Architecture, Design, Film, Fashion, a retrospective of the emergence and prosperity of modernity in Paris during the Golden Age from a richly interwoven perspective. The exhibition is curated by renowned architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen, with the architect Pascal Mory, and Catherine Örmen for the fashion section.
The exhibition is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), while Jumping He is the graphic designer.
The exhibition will showcase more than 300 objects including architectural models, drawings, paintings, jewels, photographs, films, and garments, as well as new digital animations created by DS+R. From the intimate scale of interiors to vast urban landscapes, from jewels and clothes to cinematographic images, the exhibition will present thirty years of passion and invention. DS+R deployed various forms of technology—video projections, lighting effects, and immersive multi-screen film environments—to create imagined, atmospheric scenes that evoke the “moveable feast” of Parisian urban life in the last century.
Between the two world wars, in the wake of France’s victory over Germany, Paris reached the pinnacle of its influence on the country, Europe, and the world. The sprawling city became a laboratory of modern technology and culture. The city’s industrial fabric underwent a fundamental transformation, as it embraced the new doctrines of Taylorism and Fordism. Both cinema and fashion revealed the aspirations of the new urban bourgeoisie and set the stage for modern dreams. Based on the achievements of industry and drawing on the many resources of luxury craftsmanship, new spatial and visual strategies emerged. Building programs encouraged major changes in architecture, interior design and urban planning, artists and designers explored new languages. The mysteries and myths of Paris were explored by photographers and filmmakers and transpired in the writings of novelists and scholars. Paris was home to intellectuals from all over Europe and the world – Russian emigres, American writers, Hungarian photographers, and German philosophers found fertile ground for their creativity in its cafés and salons. The period between 1914 and 1945, will be considered not as a sterile parenthesis but as a period of intense creativity.
Framing the modern city as an example, the exhibition will also present diverse historical references for studies on modernism in Shanghai. The 1920s and 1930s were a period of rapid development for Shanghai, the major trading port in the Far East. Urban culture was nurtured by the industrialization and modernization of the city. At that time, Shanghai was known as the “Oriental Paris”, rather than being an oriental mirror image of Paris, it was a manifesto of the city in the changing times of China. Paris Moderne 1914-1945: Architecture, Design, Film, Fashion will again share with its Chinese audience the diversity of modernism, and the contribution of the humanities and the arts to a city’s historical transformation, after the exhibition Ordinary Metropolis — Shanghai: a Model of Urbanism (2016).
About the Chief Curator
French architect and architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen was one of the leading scholars in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century architecture and urbanism in Europe and North America. He holds since 1994 a chair in architectural historys at NYU and serves as visiting professor at Princeton.
He has been a curator for numerous exhibitions including Le Corbusier, an Atlas of Modern Landscape, at the Museum of Modern Art; Scenes of the World to Come, Architecture in Uniform and Building a New New World, at the Canadian Center for Architecture; Paris-Moscou and the centennial show L’aventure Le Corbusier, both at the Centre Georges Pompidou; Interférences – architecture, Allemagne, France, at the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg, and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum; and Zevi’s Architects: History and Counter-History of Italian Architecture, 1944-2000, at Rome’s MAXXI.
He has curated the French Pavilion for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition (Venice Biennale, 2014). M. Cohen’s bibliography includes more than forty books published in many countries and translated in several languages.
During his years of academic practice M. Cohen has been awarded numerous honours including Chevalier des Arts & Lettres by Ministère de la culture, France and Grand Prix of the Academie d’Architecture, Paris, for the best architectural book, 1996 and 2013.
French architect and curator, Pascal Mory has been active in the creation of contemporary gallery at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine in Paris. He has designed interiors and resorts from Europe to Indonesia, and has conceived many exhibitions in France, Spain, Australia, China and other countries.
About the Fashion Curator
Catherine Örmen is a conservateur du patrimoine and a renowned fashion historian, author and educator. A graduate of École du Louvre, École du Patrimoine and Studio Berçot, she served as the first museum curator of the Marseille Fashion Museum, and subsequently worked from 1995 to 1998 as 20th century fashion collection curator at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile from the Union of Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Ms. Örmen has curated numerous shows including L‘étoffe des héroïnes (2007) at the Petit Palais, Paris and Man Ray et la Mode (2020) at the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. Her bibliography on the history of fashion includes Lingerie Française, XIXe-XXIe, Dior Forever and the 600 pages reference book L’art de la Mode, which won her the prix Coup de cœur from the du Drouot des amateurs du livre d‘art.
About the Exhibition Designer
Founded in 1981, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio based in New York. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. DS+R completed two of the largest architecture and planning initiatives in New York City’s recent history: the High Line and the renovation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The studio reshaped the city’s cultural landscape with their surgical renovation and expansion of MoMA and The Shed, a start-up multi-arts institution originally conceived by DS+R. From the Broad in Los Angeles to the Julliard School in Tianjin and New York to the V&A East Storehouse in London, DS+R has worked with global cultural institutions to expand access to culture and public space.
DS+R’s approach to rethinking cultural institutions and civic spaces grew out of self-generated and alternative projects that blur the boundaries between architecture, art and performance. The studio’s most recent self-generated work is The Mile-Long Opera, a choral performance featuring 1,000 singers atop the High Line. DS+R has also researched, curated and designed a number of interactive installations, including the Costume Institute’s Charles James: Beyond Fashion and Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which recorded two of the highest attendances for any exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s history. Most recently, the studio completed the interpretative installation for The Hare with Amber Eyes at the Jewish Museum in New York, the environmental design for Deep Blue Sea, a collaboration with choreographer Bill T. Jones at the Park Avenue Armory, and the scenographic design for Cartier and Islamic Art at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Dallas Museum of Art.
In addition to being the exhibition designer for Paris Moderne 1914-1945: Architecture, Design, Film, Fashion, DS+R is also a featured artist in the show, presenting their large-scale digital installation of Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre, originally shown at the Jewish Museum in New York. The installation displays various views of the house, synced with films that depict inhabitants moving through it, providing a working view of the extraordinary interplay of mechanical and circulation systems in Chareau’s iconic masterpiece.
About the Graphic Designer
Graphic designer, independent publisher. Born in China in 1973, and lives in Berlin now. From 1991 to 1994, he studied at China Academy of Art. He began to study fine arts at Berlin University of the Arts in 1997 and gained Meisterschule and master degree in 2001, and later obtained his doctorate in culture history at Free University of Berlin in 2011. He taught at Berlin University of the Arts, and China Academy of Art. In 2002, he established his own design studio and publishing house, hesign, in Berlin. AGI member.
About Power Station of Art
Established on October 1, 2012, the Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. It is also home to the Shanghai Biennale. Renovated from the former Nanshi Power Plant, PSA was once the Pavilion of Future during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. The museum has not only witnessed the city’s vast changes from the industry age to the IT era, but also provided a rich source of inspirations for artists with its simple yet straightforward architectural styles. And as Shanghai’s generator for its new urban culture, PSA regards non-stopping innovation and progress as the key to its long-term vitality. The museum has been striving to provide an open platform for the public to learn and appreciate contemporary art, break the barrier between life and art, and promote cooperation and knowledge generation between different schools of art and culture.
Paris Moderne 1914-1945: Architecture, Design, Film, Fashion
Dates: July 21, 2023 – October 20, 2023
Venue: 1F & 2F, PSA
Organized by: Power Station of Art
Curators: Jean-Louis Cohen, Pascal Mory
Fashion Curator: Catherine Örmen
Exhibition Designer: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Photographer: Antonio Martinelli
Graphic Designer: Jumping He
Image credits © Power Station of Art.
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