If in Paris this Saturday for the Nuit Blanche, rush to Dominique Lacloche’s ‘Un degré plus haut’ installation at L’Eglise Saint Paul. It manages to be magnificent yet have a lightness of being, not unlike an Alexander Calder mobile. Imagine 42 vast Gunnera Manicata leaves hanging from the 17th century marble rotunda but giving the impression of floating in space due to the use of invisible thread and mathematical precision. Eerie and magical, the composition haunts. It’s one of those sights that it is difficult to believe. After leaving, there’s almost an impulse to run back and return, look up at the limitless skyline – achieved with skilled lighting – and check that it was as previously imagined.
Being Paris – reliable for its appreciation of creative innovation – Dominique is getting well-deserved attention. Indeed, her installation which was sponsored by the Loo & Lou Fondation, the Luxembourg-based contemporary art organization, is tooted as one of the main attractions of the Nuit Blanche, the yearly event when all of Paris’s museums, historical houses and monuments are open until 4 am.
"Un degré plus haut manages to be magnificent yet have a lightness of being, not unlike an Alexander Calder mobile"
Since Dominique (aka Domie) is a childhood pal – I’ve watched her graduate from Les Beaux Arts to painting Afghan refugees mid-1980s for a sell-out show to studying alchemy to adopting the tempura technique to discovering the prehistoric-like Gunnera Manicata leaves, growing by a lake in Lancashire in 2000 – I was allowed to sneak in mid-installation. So there was Domie – a Anouk Aimée-style pocket Venus – surrounded by all these chiselled hunks who either had harnesses around their waists or bunches of electrical cables in their fists and whose real names were Jerome or Julien but were being called Ju Ju and other Domie nicknames. Just as my heart soared with pride – Un degré plus haut defines major masterpiece – I also smiled. Domie has that gift.
Un degré plus haut is at Eglise Saint Paul on October 5 from 8pm-4am, sponsored by Loo & Lou Foundation.
Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. A former classical dancer, his book for children titled "A Bunny in the Ballet" will be available early in 2014 from Scholastic, Inc.