Museums

Cosmic Ceramics and Hunting Trophies Collide in Paris

by Allison Meier on May 26, 2014

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

PARIS — The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris is continuing its exhibitions among its hunting trophies and old world décor with Lin Utzon’s Cosmic Dance. Through ceramics, terra-cotta, drawings, paintings, and photographs, the Danish artist is responding to nature, which has been preserved posthumously in the old manor museum’s halls.

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

The hunting and nature museum regularly hosts contemporary art, from Abraham Poincheval living inside a taxidermy bear for 13 days last month to Arno Kramer’s sprawling drawings last year, along with permanent installations of work by artists like Jeff Koons and Mark Dion. However, Utzon’s work, which opened last month, definitely falls on the less thrilling side of things, often feeling more like another decorative arts addition than a contrast to the stuffed beasts and heavy chandeliers. This is partly the monochromatic nature of the sculptural work and the repetitiveness of its forms, which makes it feel a bit muted, especially in the gallery portion where it’s away from the more playful permanent installations (French artist Nicolas Darrot’s talking boar head installed among the mounted heads, for example).

Utzon explains that she is inspired by the North with its arctic stillness for her pieces, which have towering, twisting forms in the courtyard and congregated spheres like a cloud alongside the taxidermy, all in black and white. Nevertheless, despite the feeling of a snowy whiteout with the palette, it is always enjoyable to see the museum bringing in these experiments into its ornamented space. There’s a primordialism to Utzon’s best work that contrasts strikingly to the hunting lodge feel of the place, like an alien grip from the forgotten murky wildness of nature outside of human’s control. And even if every one of the 350 pieces (quite the quiet multitude) doesn’t linger as strongly as the space they’re installed in, there is this breath of primal cold.

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, "Cosmic Dance" at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon, “Cosmic Dance” at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris

Lin Utzon: Cosmic Dance is at the Musée de la Chasse de de la Nature (60, rue des Archives, Paris) through September 14.  

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