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Unique Arts Events in Paris this September

21 August 2015

Visit an Exclusive Exhibition and Star-Studded Jazz Festival during a Paris City Break

From the first exhibition in France dedicated to famous Outsider Art figure Henry Darger, to an 11 day jazz festival with an incredible star-studded line-up, Paris is offering some of the most unique and exciting arts experiences this September. Check out our guide to what you can expect to discover during an inspiring city break in the French capital this September.

Jazz à la Villette

Various Locations Around Villette Park

3rd-13th September 2015

Returning for its 14th year, this 11 day festival is the ideal way to prolong those late summer days, with the warm September air set to fill with toe-tapping beats and soulful sounds. An array of music tastes will be catered for with hip-hop performances from the likes of Mos Def and Californian group Jurassic 5, alongside a European premier from guest of honour, saxophonist Steve Coleman and Afro-beats courtesy of legendary drummer Tony Allen.

Alongside the array of headliners, two of the most exciting events will offer the chance to see a selection of artists honour their musical heroes, from a night dedicated to the spine-tingling sounds of Nina Simone, to a star-studded concert centred around William Onyeabor. Though the electro-funk legend retreated from the limelight until recently, his wealth of work will be celebrated by fellow musicians including the likes of Sinkane, Money Mark (Beastie Boys), Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem) during one unmissable evening.

The festival’s Under the Radar shows will also offer the chance to discover new artists including Eva Risser, a former pianist of the National Jazz Orchestra, and three piece Lunatic toys who’ll offer an unpredictable performance with punk influences. Younger audiences will also be catered for with any array of children-friendly performances, from real-time illustrations inspired by American dancer Johnny Hudgins accompanied by three musicians, to a storytelling session from ‘Between Cabbage and Wolf’.

If all of that wasn’t enough, film fans can also watch screenings of 1968’s Black Panthers, 1989’s Do The Right Thing and 1970’s Cotton Comes to Harlem, as well as the actor and director Melvin Van Peebles performing on stage with saxophonist Archie Shepp. With such a vibrant and eclectic programme to choose from, Jazz à la Villette will provide the perfect night out for any music fan this September.

Henry Darger Exhibition

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Until 11th October 2015

A few months before Henry Darger passed away in 1973, his landlord and renowned photographer Nathan Lerner discovered that his reclusive tenant had spent 30 years writing a 15,000 page novel and 60 years illustrating it. 45 of the almost 300 drawings he created are currently on show at Paris’ Musée d'Art Moderne, offering an indepth insight into the imaginary world the artist committed much of his life to creating.

From age 19, Darger began writing and drawing during his free time away from menial jobs at local hospitals, a practise he continued in until the year of his death. Titled ‘The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion’, his novel told of a war-torn world that had earth as its moon. The children rebelled against the tyranny inflicted upon them by the Glandelinian adults and though they tended to triumph, there were many challenges.

Inventive ways of escape undertaken by the ‘Vivian Girls’, the heroes of the novel, feature in one of the many exhibition sections. Characterised by blond hair and purple and yellow uniforms, these seven characters can be seen rolled up in carpets, descending 250 foot ropes and hiding behind trees to evade capture. Large-scale drawings, watercolours and collages depict scenes from the book including apocalyptic landscapes and post-war celebrations in floral landscapes, alongside flags and portraits.

The self-taught artist is now regarded as one of the leading figures of the ‘Outsider Art’ movement, characterised by those who create outside established scenes, and has gone on to influence acclaimed artists including Paul Chan and Jake and Dinos Chapman. As the first exhibition dedicated to Darger in France, this is a unique opportunity to see an array of his works including the three metre long depiction of ‘The Battle of Calverhine’ alongside an enlarged photo of Darger’s apartment filled with his 15 volumes of work.

With a whole host of music acts, artwork and films to view, a cultural city break to Paris will offer an exciting and enlightening trip this September.

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