Cellar Door

April 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Posted in art, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Forest of Gunpowder Trees

Friday afternoon I finally made it to the mesmerizing Cellar Door exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo. I’d been a bit hesitant about this show, because they were promoting it as the first time the PdT had given over the entire museum to one artist under the age of thirty — I worried that, with a description like that, it had a lot of potential to go horribly wrong, plus I’ve gotten kind of bitter and resentful about people who are massively creative/successful and younger than I am. But the show won me over! Because it was amazing.

The concept for the show was that the entire space would be re-imagined as a sort of 3-D map of the artist’s brain. To me, the experience was most like waking up in an obscure avant-garde art film featuring a lot of surrealist dream imagery — see, for example, those bare trees lit by a glowing red orb.


This is a mini-map of the mind map. #8, the spectacle of a sculpture, consisted of some people in a cage shooting paintball guns at each other. #1 was a neon sculpture representing the balled-up blueprints of the Palais de Tokyo. #5 was an empty movie theater playing blurry abstractions. And my personal favorite was #9:

Celador, the candy with a taste of illusion

Celador: the candy with the taste of illusion. (“A candy whose indeterminate taste appeals to the consumer’s imagination. On sale in supermarkets, using the conventions of mass marketing. Celador is a contamination of reality.”)

Did the whole show hang together? I’m not sure — some of the elements felt a little thrown together, and some were downright annoying (the signs that faded to black as you were trying to read them, for example). Still, it imparted a sense of wonder and surprise, and a feeling of leaving the real world behind for an hour or two, which is mostly what I look for in contemporary art these days.



  1. Sounds like a fascinating exhibition – thanks for giving us an insight into it.

    With the Mind Map, is it like a drawn Mind Map like those on MindExchange or a sculpture – wasn’t sure from your post.

  2. Jennifer — no, not much like that site… much more abstract. Basically, the whole exhibit *was* a mind map: a three-dimensional representation of the intelligence, creativity, and madness within. But it was pretty conceptual.

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