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The museum on the embankment of

In France, more than where - or, destinies of art were often decided by politicians. There are a lot of examples. In 1960 - e years in the center of Paris the doubtful architectural masterpiece with which the president Georges Pompidou immortalized the name grew. To his successor Giscard d`Estaing more happy thought came - to turn the station of d` of D`Orsay which is under the threat of demolition into the museum of a classical modernist style. At the beginning of the 21st century the president Jacques Chirac became the worthy successor of this tradition: his efforts on Branli Embankment the ethnographic museum of “new generation“ opened.

If you are guided in the center of Paris (fortunately, such assumption does not sound today mockery any more), then imagine that you are on the left coast of Seine and move on the embankment from the center towards the Eiffel Tower. You pass the museum D`Orsay mentioned already, then Invalidov Square with its grandiose monuments of imperial eras. Without reaching only meters two hundred the Eiffel Tower which already looks out from - for houses, take away a look from slow waves of Seine and look on the left. To your eyes the surprising show will appear: behind a glass wall directly in the middle of the city the fair site of the jungle settled down.

And jungle do not hide inside as palm trees in a greenhouse, and aim to get out: the facade nearby of the standing house already densely overgrew plants. And there, behind a glass wall, among flowers and trees the footpath invitingly curls...

the Show it makes impression strange and pleasant. That whose childhood went to the companies of heroes of Tove Jansson, the adventure of family of Mumi - trolls when the whole jungle grows from couple of dry leaves which appeared in a magic hat occurs.“ Lianas sprouted through a chimney, braided a roof and shrouded all mummies - the house in a magnificent green carpet“. And in a case as now I remember, Mumi - mother found a blackberry bush.

Approximately same, long ago forgotten, almost children`s feelings, the tickling presentiment of an adventure is caused by the first view of the newest representative object of the Parisian landscape: the museum on Branli Embankment.

Such is the official name. But, of course, all tell simply “Branli`s museum“. At the same time the French physicist and the pioneer of radio engineering Eduard Branli never in life was neither in Africa, nor in Asia, nor in Oceania, nor in North or South America - the word, in one of those regions from where a sort of 300 000 exhibits of a collection. Perhaps, it would be more correct to call the museum, by analogy with the same Centre Georges Pompidou, a name of Jacques Chirac.

“This museum not luxury, but need“, - he proclaimed in 1996, in a year after the election as the president.“ We have to improve urgently the relations with the non-European world“. Behind political reasons there were badly hidden motives of personal character: in 1980 - e years Chirac, being the mayor of Paris, began to collect a collection of Asian art. In 1990 - m he got acquainted with Jacques Kershachem - the big expert on non-European art. Skillfully converted the passion to “afrikanshchena“ and “backwardness“ of Kershach into a hard coin, having become the most influential Parisian Marchand, that is an art - the dealer. It entered the term art premier, “initial art“ called, in his opinion, to replace politically incorrect “primitive art“ in due time.

should not tell

to Residents of our capital what occurs when the mayor - and furthermore the president - appears under the influence of this or that esthetics. Fortunately, Jacques Chirac did not begin to build a monument to Christopher Columbus on the shooter Site. The museum of transatlantic art was generation of its ambitions.

the Aesthetics against ethnography

the Project of the museum was born

tormently. At first the special section was conceived to be created in already crowded Louvre. Louvre zaroptat. Then decided to found the new museum, having completed its exposition from the non-European Louvre collections and part of a huge collection of the Museum of the person (Musee de l “with Homme). Here the staff of the Museum of the person rebelled. With rough support of labor unions and scientific community they protested both against reduction of workplaces, and against “castration“ of ethnographic meetings by esthetic criteria. Namely it was so supposed to divide exhibits, having selected “delicious“ and bright for Branli and having left “the objects which are of purely scientific interest“ in the Museum of the person.

Disputes on as far as in general it is correct to measure objects primitive (or, perhaps, initial) arts by the European esthetic measure, do not cease still. Founders of the museum are reproached with “colonialism of a new sample“: disrespect for the right of inhabitants of non-European part of the planet for other system of values. Besides for the ethnographer or the archeologist the object taken out of a context is deprived of sense. It is no wonder that in this environment the idea of construction of the new museum was apprehended as an expensive facade and did not cause amicable approval.

Discussion went not one year. The consensus became result of multystoried diplomatic balancing act. To all something was promised: to labor unions - creation of new workplaces, the scientist - additional investments into scientific projects, to society of protection of monuments - care with the Parisian old times. Only after it in a quarter between Seine and Trokadero, in a shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the Moroccan builders began to root out “the buildings of an Ottoman era which are not of historical value“, and in architectural bureau of Jean Nouvel work on the project of the museum began to boil.

the Cycle from emergence of a plan before its realization took with

10 years, record for modern Paris. In June, 2006 in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the president Jacques Chirac the ceremonial opening of the building took place. The press widely discussed “the museum which was constructed by Chirac“, and came to a conclusion that the similar cultural project - nevertheless the most noble of all known ways of waste of state means.

of Border possible

“To reach borders possible“ in modern city architecture - such task was set for himself by the neurotic resident of the third district, the convinced Parisian and the citizen of the world Jean Nouvel. At the same time, however, he promised “not to build the building for the sake of the building“, but only “to create a cover for a unique collection“. The seeming dilemma was solved with gloss. Seldom it is necessary to see so perfect combination of form and content. On two hectares of expensive Parisian earth which were at its disposal, Jean Nouvel managed to create “the world in the world“. It begins not in the building, and already at the first step for twelve-meter “board“ from wavy glass - zrimo - the hidden wall separating the museum territory from other Paris.

Here, behind a wall, even air another - it is more damp, is more cool and is full of smells of the plants seated on the improvised hills and in nizinka. Gardeners chose such flowers and trees which perfectly feel in the Parisian climate from faded European flora and the combination create illusion of the jungle. So, it turns out that the mountain ash twined an ivy, looks far more exotically, than the sickly palm trees forced to drag the century in tubs. However, here too there is a lot of exotic plants. About two hundred trees were planted to the earth which is specially brought on coast of Seine. From the embankment ash-trees and oaks grow, from Universitetskaya Street - a magnolia and cherry. So far trees are still too young, but once they will expand and realize the architect`s plan: to construct the first “the public building which will not be visible from the street“.

Despite all efforts on creation of the most unpretentious tropical garden, this green magnificence only thanks to continued leaving sticks to

: the staff of the museum includes team of gardeners.

As managed to be made

so that the small in effect park with its twigs and paved footpaths made feeling of “the magic wood“? It will remain a secret of his scheduler - the landscape designer Giles Clement. In numerous interviews Clement abstractly argues on ideal proportions in a combination of heights and lowlands and modestly remembers geniuses of park architecture of the past.

“New modesty“

In the middle of greens the building which, appear it on the waste ground rises, would hardly descend for a masterpiece of modern architecture. Actually Branli`s museum represents the extended box with slightly slanted corners, 220 meters long. The box costs on 26 concrete “legs“ located randomly as notes in the score of new music. Such multi-legged Trojan Horse of a modern civilization who is grazed among trustful tropical plants. To get into “horse“, as well as it is necessary, follows “from a tail“.

At ground level the spacious foyer from which the wide ladder forwards the audience upward is. It bends around the glass cylinder of multimeter diameter which is filled with certain mysterious dark objects. If attentively to look narrowly, they appear... drums, tambourines, tomtoms and other musical instruments, which here about 9000. Invisible loudspeakers transfer their silent roar. They are “witnesses“ of the world mysterious and boundless.

O “a sacral construction for mystical objects, carriers of secrets, witnesses of ancient and live civilizations“ was told by the architect Nuvel, submitting in 1999 the project. The viewer also is ready to a certain boundlessness, entering the museum from “meditative park“.

First impression of Branli: it is foreseeable. From 300 000 inventoried objects which are declared in the catalog the constant exposition included only 3500. It is a little. To “transparency“, not load of space also the internal general architecture aspires. Everything almost 5000 m 2 an exhibition area (the hall from 20 to 35 meters wide and about 200 long) at once open to an eye. There is no infinite suite characteristic of the classical museums. Walls are almost absent, apart from a so-called snake - the coiling sofa fitted by beige skin - partitions in the center of the hall. Its organic, biomorphic form - news to traditionally cold, geometrical interior policy of Nouvel.

At first sight the exposition appears a little unsystematic and even in some way as thoughtless. At least, it is deprived of a didacticism of other ethnographic museums of Europe. A set of raznokulturny and uneven-age objects are combined deliberately randomly, by the principle of free association - a pier, here the image of the woman with the baby and here too. Besides, exhibits are intentionally deprived of the comment. To read the plate with the description of object, it is necessary to look for long and sometimes without results. Such is policy of the museum: not to tell, and to show. To address before the imagination and subconsciousness, and already then - logical thinking.

On closer examination a certain system, of course, is found: in - the first, by the geographical principle (exhibits are organized in five sections, in each of which a floor is painted in the color), in - the second, on thematic. And partly - chronological. But any of the principles is not neither obligatory, nor through. It is obvious that the museum stakes not on system approach, and on emotional shock. And it quite achieves this result.

“Forces secret, forces the velikiya“

of the Rights everything is Kershach: not primitive and especially not naive, namely initial and primordial it is worth calling this art which arose as one of the few forms of communication with the world available to the person strange.

the Author of these lines in general reluctantly uses

the word “energy“. But in a different way you will not describe influence of these things: it is bad the smiling ritual masks, istykanny rusty needles of figurines (and let the catalog does not tell that so to Africans under the influence of missionaries Christ saw each other), powerful stone phalli. In these things - energy of other world - the world which is not restrained by Coming, not bridled by humanity, not clamped by political correctness.

I, probably, correct. Eventually, as the ethnographer Claude Levi postulated - Stross (by the way, the big supporter of idea of creation of this museum), “any ethnographic meeting cannot apply seriously today for presenting a truthful picture of this or that culture“. Besides, at desire information nevertheless can be found - from the loudspeakers which are unostentatiously cooing in each corner or from the books and catalogs which are on sale for quite reasonable prices.

I all the same: ideally restored, effectively illuminated and hidden in glass “safes“, other of objects for the influence are disproportionate even to this museum. Their contemplation in everything - “layman“ space leaves feeling of some inconvenience - so happens slightly awkwardly for the enthusiastic Western European collectors decorating walls of the drawing rooms with asymmetrically hanging Russian icons.

By the way about icons: it is strange that into the general “a non-European copper“ with ritual masks of the equatorial Africa and cult objects of primordial inhabitants of America art of Africa Christian got. The frescos removed from a wall of Coptic church in Ethiopia look absolutely alien object in this “pagan“ museum. However, this contrast only illustrates key questions which are raised by Branli: who are we such what our difference from others consists in and whether there is it today? the View of another

As it was already told by

to p, there is enough place in a constant exposition approximately for 1% of the collection collected for five centuries of colonialism and one and a half centuries of ethnographic science. Boundless meetings of a photo - audio - and film materials are available to public in specially equipped media libraries. Other objects promise to show within the replaceable exhibitions planned for 12 years ahead. The first of them took place under the program name “D “un regard l“ autre“ (that can be translated approximately as “A view of another“).

Since at the beginning of the 16th century the ingenious German cartographer Martin Valdzeemyuller applied to

on the globe the American continent known to nobody assumed by it, but still, the imagination of Europeans is occupied by inhabitants of “other world“. At first no more real, than the alien, in the next centuries the transatlantic inhabitant “does career“ from “the blood-thirsty knave“, the barbarian and, of course, the cannibal to “the noble savage“. At an exhibition it was possible to see both the idealized marble busts of negri executed according to the Renaissance iconography, and the stylized portraits of “the African ambassadors“ of Jasper Beks: dressed up in camisoles and silk drawers, in the powdered wigs, gentlemen stood in courtois poses, black color of their persons seems only a tribute of carnival night. whether

“The person can strongly differ from me in

and at the same time remain the person?“ - this it is naive - the racist question for the first time openly was asked in the 17th century by one more “participant“ of an exhibition - Dutch Albert Ekhoud. During eight years` travel across Brazil the artist represented the models against carefully registered tropical vegetation. Exotic jewelry of savages is even more diligently written out. Somewhat Ekhoud`s approach is similar to the fact that it practices and today in the ethnographic museums. However, whether quite it is possible to trust this “Encyclopaedist“? Where he draws reality and where serves already existing idea of it?

the woman`s portrait from the tribe tapuya“ is Especially good

“: the pretty naked savage holds the chopped-off human hand, and someone`s leg sticks out of a graceful small knot behind the back. It seems that mother of family just was on a market...

“Skull of Paris“

Where original, and where stylization? It is one more question which is asked by Branli`s project. Nearly the best-known item of the collection - the so-called “Parisian skull“. 11 centimeters high, weighing 2,5 kilograms, it is turned from an integral piece of rock crystal. In 1878 the skull was donated to the ethnographic museum on Trokadero (future Museum of the person) by the collector Alphonse Pinar - as a masterpiece of a dokolumbov of art. Aztec skulls - peculiar “yaytsand Faberge“ world of transatlantic antiquities: today 12 objects such are known. One of them is stored in the British museum, another, the largest, belongs to Smithsonian institute in Washington. The others dispersed on private collections and are known under fantastic names like “the Destiny Skull“, “Max“ or “Synergy“.

of Doubt concerning an origin of a crystal skull appeared in the 19th century. At least because it was acquired from the antiquary Eugene Boban - the dashing traveler and not too clean businessman. However only in 2007 in Branli`s laboratory the three-months researches which finally exposed a legend of a skull were conducted. It was turned by means of diamond cutters not earlier than the second half of the XIX century, most likely, in one of jeweler workshops in the south of Germany where and today specialize in a similar way of processing of a stone.

the skull was presented by

“Exposed“ to public within the special exhibition which opened on the eve of the European start of the movie “Indiana Jones and Kingdom of a Crystal Skull“. Similar a bow with show - business causes thought that if the museums build... it means to somebody it is necessary.

This thought amplifies and goes deep if to wander on small streets in vicinities of Branli Embankment. Here you will find not one, both not two, and even not dozen of galleries specializing in sale of the African and Asian antiquities.

of the Price of these artifacts, earlier being of interest generally to a narrow circle of fans, in recent years grew repeatedly. One my familiar lawyer before collecting exotic masks and a sculpture only for the sake of own pleasure threw the bothered legal practice now and trained for a new profession in the dealer on “the African art“.“ The oceanic market“ does not endure yet that boom what takes place in the modern art, but obviously aspires to it and, perhaps, will become the following platform of a financial roundabout.

Close connection of these two markets does not raise doubts. Not incidentally to one of the first in Branli it was exposed a star of “kontemporalshchina“ of Yink Shonibare. The Nigerian who was born in London made the name just on a coquetry with the colonial past and its stylizations. So, its most known installation “Big travel“ represents group of the Victorian dandies twisted from motley African fabrics. Dandies copulate in the most intricate poses with the pyshnogrudy ladies who are also twisted from rags. All this is a hint on the grandee - tour, traditional informative travel of young aristocrats on the Mediterranean.

Unique in own way, Branli`s museum at the same time carries out a role of ledokolapervoprokhodets: on the way other European meetings of “a new sample“. Let`s tell, in Berlin “the Gumboldtovsky forum“ already accepts concrete outlines. It will become part of the Museum Island complex and at last will make available to public huge ethnographic meetings of Germany. The new museum of such plan (the truth, private) opened in Brussels recently. Think of revision of giving of ethnographic collections also in London.

Branli`s Museum in general sets thinking. Because his statement is ambiguous. Again “entering“ artifacts of other civilizations in the European context, let and seeking to keep at the same time their mystical aura, this project does not retouch, and underlines the conflict between the first and third world. The conflict which defines more and more what occurs in today`s life.

, maybe, the French critics of the project pointing that 235 million euros which Branli`s museum cost should be invested in science and in rescue of the remains of the civilizations disappearing because of colonialists, but not in a grandiose monument to the last are not so wrong


Jean Nouvel enters ten leading architects of the world. Was born and grew in provinces in the south of France, under Bordeaux. Studied in the Parisian academy of Arts, at faculty of architecture. In 1968 - the m was an active participant of the student`s movement. Wide popularity to Nouvel was brought by the project of Institute of the Arab world constructed in Paris in 1987. Among other large projects of its bureau there is a building Agbar in Barcelona and gallery Lafayette on the Berlin Fridrikhshtrasse.

- Mister Nouvel, your new building as though hides from foreign views. Why?

- Me it was important to p to create other atmosphere, than that that usually dominates in the Western European museums. Atmosphere mysterious and sacral. In this museum not works of art in traditional sense of the word, and relicts of ancient civilizations, traces of rituals, beliefs and superstitions are exposed. To emphasize mystical character of space, I shipped halls in the twilight. Dot lamps on a ceiling create illusion of the star sky. Blinds provide a flickering play of light and shadows what is in the dense wood.

- you argue as the film director.

- I strive for emotional expressiveness. I love when the movie forces to forget that it is shot by means of a chamber, and architecture - about technical means of the creation.

- you call the architecture “contextual“. What means this term?

- Each my project looks for a new form of dialogue with that space in which he will live. When I built the technical center in Wismar, as a reference point for me served the port on the bank of the Baltic Sea. The Guthrie theater in Minneapolis corresponds to a bend of Mississippi. In the building for Richmond group in Geneva the structure of a landscape, typical for Switzerland, and a view of Lake Geneva are beaten. The nature is reflected in a glass facade of the building, it penetrates architecture, relieves it of borders...

- you are often called the revolutionary from architecture. What this revolution has to lead to?

- my architecture is attached to the present, by today. The architecture does not exist out of time. It only the expression of our culture, spirit of our time turned into a stone. For this reason I so do not love architectural stylizations, historicism or an architectural postmodernism 1980 - x. old and new I realized my idea of synthesis, say, in the project of the new case of the museum of the queen Sofia in Madrid: as though the glass roof soaring in air connects it to the historical building of the 18th century.

- As the architecture further, in the 21st century will develop?

- I do not think that it is necessary to expect big novelty. There is a tendency to total abstraction, radicalization of a form and deformation of space. Which - who believes that it is possible to invent architecture anew, having nullified the past.

- It seems that you not too high opinion on creativity of some of your colleagues - fashionable architects?

- I do not tell the concrete names. But I against buildings which look so as if they were dumped with a parachute. I against “computer architecture“, all these pseudo-art buildings, elaborate and identical worldwide. In a word, I against an architectural globalism.

- What distinguishes the architect from the artist?

- the Architect is dependent: from weather, money, officials and customers. The artist is free. It does that wants as the writer or the composer. Art is autonomous. The architecture - is not present.