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An Installation That Fills A Monastery With Nothing But Foam

There’s enough suds in this Parisian monastery for at least a few dozen bubble baths.

Foam is a diverse and democratic medium. Everyone can find something to do with some suds. Michel Blazy uses them to create beautiful, dynamic works of art in 13th-century Parisian monasteries. I use them to create Abe Lincoln beards in the bathtub. Two unique artistic visions brought to life with nothing but some soapy water.

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But, for now, we’ll focus on the former of the two projects. Blazy’s piece, Bouquet Final, can be found spanning a wall at the College of the Bernardine, in Paris, where it will be installed until October 13. What visitors encounter there is a massive metal scaffolding, over 15-feet high, continuously printing smoke-like sheets of foam. The bubbles are slowly generated on the various levels of the rig–very slowly generated–and eventually fall onto to the floor, gathering into an impressive pile–enough for a dozen or so bubble baths, by my reckoning. The foam, as is its nature, pops, fizzles, and deteriorates, but it’s gradually replaced with new foam from above. The whole strange spectacle is heightened by the beautiful stone columns and vaulted arches surrounding the installation.

The title Bouquet Final refers to the possible future of our planet, and the work itself is concerned with Earth’s fragility in the face of overconsumption and general environmental disregard. Ingrid Melano, writing for Dazed Digital, offers a short report on visiting the piece:

In the spectacular setting of College des Bernardins, an ancient monastery hided in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter, the first sensation that was simulated was the smell, the warmth of the moisture, in a place that normally we imagine as cold, austere, today uninhabited.

The ancient window on the right side allowed light to enter so candid and reflect on the foam flashes that illuminated the whole room. Spectators were fascinated, standing for hours in front of the installation and waiting for a movement of foam, a piece that falls softly on the ground.

The foam, like everything in nature, is transient and its state is always uncertain. Or at least I think that’s what we’re going for here.

But this isn’t the first time the artist, who was born in Monaco and now works with the Art Concept Galerie in Paris, has dabbled with this unlikely material. Other pieces on the gallery’s website show columns of foam growing out of trash cans, like big white slugs. Bouquet Final, by comparison, is a bit more majestic, but both give me the strong urge to grab a box of laundry detergent, find the nearest public fountain, and endeavor in some artistic expression of my own.

[Hat tip: Visual News]

[Photo credit: Pauline Rymarski]

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