The Empire State Building punctuated
Posted on April 26, 2011
It was a gorgeous summer day in Paris, even though spring only just knocked on our doors, chasing away the winter gloom.
I was preparing for a party at my agent’s, Erzsi Deàk of Hen & Ink. Her quarters are in the always buzzing midst of Paris, a stone’s throw away from the Jardin des Tuileries and the famous Louvre and a stroll away from Place des Victoires.
The summery temperature held me away from the Louvre and its hordes (actually, almost everything keeps me away from the Louvre hordes, not just the sun). I strolled the streets and ended up at the much more exciting Jeu de Paume, in the northwest corner of the Jardin des Tuileries. Nothing can keep me away from this small haven of contemporary art: no hordes, no cramped rooms, no stuffy atmosphere in this former tennis court.
Again, it didn’t let me down. The first exhibition I entered was that of the Société Réaliste: Empire, State, Building. The name of the exhibition brings the mythical New York skyscraper to mind, which has inspired so many artists ever since its completion in 1931.
What grabbed me was the punctuation play of the artists. The simple addition of two comma’s shakes off the customary connotation, leaving you disoriented. A decreasing scale that brings a grand conception back from an empire, to a state to a mere building. It shows how influential this tiny mark, only a slip of the pen away from a dot, is. And it gives an idea why writers never stop fretting about the use of what people sometimes erroneously regard as inconsequential members of our script.
The exhibition is worth a visit, not to mention an excellent preparation to a Hen & Ink party.