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Paris celebrates tenth year of ‘all-nighter’ art party

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-10-02

The all-night Parisian art festival ‘Nuit Blanche’ is turning ten on Saturday, with interactive installations, music, dancing and illuminations to please the city’s sleepless residents and visitors.

The city of Paris will host the tenth edition of its all-night ‘Nuit Blanche’ contemporary art extravaganza on Satuday night, with installations of all kinds on display across the city until dawn. Artists from France and abroad have been invited to pool their creativity around the theme of “Time” and have conjured dozens of artistic offerings that are all open and free to the public.

In an editorial published on the festival’s programme, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe said Nuit Blanche allowed people to experience France’s capital in a novel way. “The artists offer us a unique elucidation of the world as it is, or the city as it is evolving, and in particular this year, of our relationship with time,” Delanoe wrote.

Literally, Nuit Blanche means “White Night” in English, but “All-nighter” is a more faithful interpretation of the title. For the event, Paris will run metro lines 12 and 14 without interruption on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Organisers said this year’s edition, which includes interactive installations, sculpture, music and illuminations, would attract around 2 million people.

The main stage

As in all previous years, Paris’s city hall and its surrounding area will be transformed into a sprawling art gallery overnight and serve as Nuit Blanche’s main stage. However, important installations are also awaited in the city’s northern neighbourhoods of Montmartre, Pigalle and Batignolles.

The Hotel d’Albret (31 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, metro Saint Paul), an elegant 17th century building, will be home to French artist Pierre Ardouvin’s “Purple Rain” installation. Paying homage to the song and Prince biopic of the same name, Ardouvin has promised to turn the building’s interior courtyard into a giant movie set with artificial rain and purple lighting. Umbrella-clad visitors will be invited to become actors in the giant “studio set”.

Quebec artists Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière are eagerly awaited for their “Spectacles + Problemes” show (Ronsard gymnasium, 2 rue Ronsard, metro Anvers). The art collective’s gigantic and all-consuming bonfire is meant to “force city dwellers to face the contradictions of modern living” and awaken their “tribal instincts”.

Another presentation not to be missed in the same neighbourhood is Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil’s “I will keep a light burning”. With the help of computer software and hundreds of candles, Auguste-Dormeuil will turn the Square Louis Michel (metro Anvers) at the base of the Sacre Coeur Basilica into the night sky that earthlings will see 100 years in the future.

In concert with the night

The larger attractions are often overcrowded and smaller venues are also a key part of the Nuit Blanche experience. Besides the big showings funded by the city, dozens of other official and unofficial works of art will be presented in schools, theatres, churches and gardens across Paris.

The Lycee Chaptal (Rue de Rome, metro Rome) near the Saint Lazare train station will screen the film “Ex” by the French artist Jacques Monori, shot after his return from Cuba in 1968. The cultural centre 104 (5 rue Curial, metro Riquet) is welcoming night owls with concerts, movies and a dance party.

For the curious who cannot sleep, but harbor little interest in hitting the street, the city of Paris is also inviting people to follow live coverage of the event online on its website. For more information about Nuit Blanche's programme in English see

Date created : 2011-10-01


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