by HRM on November 8, 2012

Visiting Le Plateau with Stephanie Papa

Michel Blazy

On a seldom visited corner, burrowed in the narrow streets above the Buttes Chaumont, is a quaint and curious gallery called Le Plateau. Although it’s currently celebrating its 10th year in the neighborhood, the gallery is easily missed by many. But, whenever I’m in the mood for an enigmatic surprise, this is where I find myself. And I never leave disappointed. Sponsored by the Regional Council Ile-de-France, the gallery’s curators feature international artists—both well-known and undiscovered—who share an eccentric rebel spirit. You’ll be sure to wander through rooms using every angle of contemporary creation, exploring a crossbreed of mediums: film, poetry, gadgets, illustrations, inventions and this time, food.

michel blazy

On a rainy Saturday afternoon at Le Plateau, I am standing in a room of rotting oranges, toppling over each other on a wall of high shelves. Gallery-goers who get too close to the pungent fruit are swatting their way past the company of fruit flies, which have smelled the artistic decay and invaded the place. The work is part of the solo show by Michel Blazy, displayed at Le Plateau this autumn. No stranger to the Parisian art scene, Monaco-born Michel Blazy has already been featured in public shows at Centre Georges Pompidou, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. The concept of his exhibition “The Great Restaurant” is the existence of everyday matter, perishable items and the mutations they form. The gallery transformed itself into a living breathing ecosystem to accommodate Blazy’s modest experiment.

michel blazy

Each room gives a sense of natural time lapse in which slowness is the key; the pieces almost seem to be on pause after having been left for years, in constant self-transformation. The room of oranges, for example, has multiple smells: rotting citrus, paintings made of smeared chocolate and buckets of old water under plastic kitchen tables. If you look closely, you’ll see an occasional ant cross one tabletop to another via a network of horizontal brooms, looking for crumbs.

michel blazy

The moldy meal concludes in the final room for an unexpected desert. Even people passing on the street stop and stare in the display window, putting their hands up to the glass to get a closer look. A mammoth-sized cotton ball creation fills the room, on top of which bean sprouts have begun to germinate, thrive, and produce a special odor. What’s more—you can climb inside. Blazy’s collection in its entirety seems to draw attention to our shared space with food in an ordinary environment; how can we observe the cycle of organic growth in constant flux? How do living organisms feed themselves, shrink, expand, renew, and live?

michel blazy

If the idea of food art doesn’t whet your appetite, don’t worry, it’s not all mildew. Just like other artists presented at the gallery, Blazy tinkers with multiple art forms such as film clips, sculpture and impressive installations.

michel blazy

The exhibition will be on view until November 18th, 2012. For more information about Le Plateau, and their upcoming exhibition Memories of Modern Art (1990-2035), visit

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