Art and the Guillotine in Paris: Bêtes Off. Exposition à la Conciergerie

Paris, ArtCreepy GirlComment



Here is the End of all Things by Claire Morgan     Media: taxidermy (barn owl), nylon, lead, acrylic and thistle seeds:  Image:

In 2012 while wandering through the night, circling Notre Dame in Paris, we drifted towards the Conciegerie, which was once part of the Palais de la Cité, the former royal palace. In the late 1700's, this served as a prison and was called the "antechamber to the guillotine" for those considered traitors. Over 2,600 people were beheaded during this time, including Marie Antoinette who was detained here until her death. Historical records indicate that holding conditions were based on wealth. The poor were kept in wet, rat-infested cells that wreaked of urine and excrement while royalty were allowed to walk freely from 8am until sun down. The horrible beauty of it all is the juxtaposition of the internal hell masked by a brilliant architectural facade.

 Notre Dame Cathedral at dusk

Notre Dame Cathedral at dusk

Today the Conciergerie hosts avant-garde art installations. We were lucky to find this gem. To play off the juxtaposition of hell vs beauty once more, a collection of artists used mixed media to showcase the mechanical nature of how animals were viewed in the 1700's, while highlighting the lack of animals in art then versus now. It was dark, eerie and brilliant. Enjoy. Have images or places? SHARE HERE


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