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force awakens theatrical poster

In case there was still any debate, Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon spanning our globe. Last month I was in Paris, and got to witness firsthand another country’s unbridled enthusiasm leading up to the opening of “Le Reveil de la Force” (The Force Awakens).

Star Wars was EVERYWHERE!

From department store window displays at the historic Haussmann Galeries Lafayette, to disposable water bottles, and there was even a Leia whose attire and hair was sculpted entirely out of chocolate at the 2015 Salon du Chocolat (imagine San Diego Comic Con, but for Chocolatiers. Yum.):

Galeries Lafayette in Paris with author Stephanie Thorpe

Galeries Lafayette in Paris with author Stephanie Thorpe

 

Volvic water

Volvic water

Chocolate Slave Leia--with inaccurate chocolate buns!

Chocolate Slave Leia–with inaccurate chocolate buns!

I was personally struck by the newest exhibit at the Louvre.
THERE WAS STAR WARS IN THE LOUVRE!
In the same elite and sprawling museum that holds countless masterpieces including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory…there too was Darth Vader.

Mythes Fondateurs

Mythes Fondateurs

The opening exhibit in the Louvre’s new wing, La Petite Galerie, is the “Mythes Fondateurs: D’Hercule a Dark Vador” which examines humanity’s artistic attempts to explain light vs dark, good vs evil, and heroes vs monsters. It runs until the summer 2016 (alas, I wish pictures were allowed!), and it gave me shivers to see Vader and Luke (and yeah, even a behind the scenes look at the making of Attack of the Clones…) given their rightful place next to sculptures, artifacts and art from the dawn of civilations around the world.

But the most impressive Star Wars experience for me was at Galerie Sakura which brought together over 30 artists for showing called “L’expo Contre-Attaque,” with pieces available for purchase here: www.galerie-sakura.com

outside Galerie Sakura

outside Galerie Sakura

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It was stupendous! Between fetal Yodas and totem Vaders, from the instant you walked in it was overwhelming AND you could take pictures! Just no touching allowed, of course:

Warning!

Warning!

 

Yoda egg and Darth totema

Yoda egg and Darth totema

There were uniquely designed Stormtrooper helmets, and a Disco Vader by Alben:

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Disco Vader by Alben

Disco Vader by Alben

And of course pop-culture mashups by David Eger

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I was quite drawn to the “historical” photographs which presented alternate snapshots of world events:

Berlin, 1961 by Agan Harahap

Berlin, 1961 by Agan Harahap

 

Yalta Conference, 1945 by Agan Harahap

Yalta Conference, 1945 by Agan Harahap

 

Singing in the Sandstorm, David Eger

Singing in the Sandstorm, David Eger

 

Troopers Raising the Flag, David Eger

Troopers Raising the Flag, David Eger

And speaking of “historical,” the portraits by Sacha Gooldberger and sculptural images by Travis Durden could be right at home in the Louvre!

Portrait D'un Homme Vetu D'une Armure D'or, Sacha Goldberger

Portrait D’un Homme Vetu D’une Armure D’or, Sacha Goldberger

Portrait D'un Homme En Noir Casque et Son Animal De Compagnie

Portrait D’un Homme En Noir Casque et Son Animal De Compagnie

 

 

Yodea Angel, by Travis Durden

Yodea Angel, by Travis Durden

 

Gladiator Boba

Gladiator Boba

I really appreciated the humor and juxtapositions of Daniel Picard’s work.

Flush, by Daniel Picard

Flush, by Daniel Picard

Snowtrooper Angel, by Daniel Picard

Snowtrooper Angel, by Daniel Picard

Perhaps my favorites were these Untitled pieces by Thomas Dagg, but alas they were out of my price range.

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Untitled, Thomas Dagg

Untitled, Thomas Dagg

So too were the “Yoda Foetus” and “Darth Foetus” by Alexandre Nicolas….at 15000 € each! And it didn’t look like they were going to run out of the “Oeuf Yoda Foetus” either. Also at 15000 € an egg!

Yoda Foetus and Darth Foetus by Alexandre Nicolas

Yoda Foetus and Darth Foetus by Alexandre Nicolas

Oeuf Yoda Foetus by Alexandre Nicolas

Oeuf Yoda Foetus by Alexandre Nicolas

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I loved these signed prints by Lewis Forde and came very close to buying one:

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Lewis Forde

Lewis Forde

But once I factored in shipping costs, I decided to sleep on it.
I never made it back to Galerie Sakura.
I left the gallery just before 8pm on November 13th.
That day Star Wars showed me a unifying light and bond across cultures.
That night, Paris, and the world, faced the brutal darkness and divide of terrorism.

Paris shut down, but again moves forward. I smile when I imagine the anticipation there for Le Reveil de la Force. L’expo Contre-Attaque runs at Galerie Sakura until January 15th 2016, and Mythes Fondateurs at the Louvre until July 4th 2016.

Que la Force soit avec toi, Paris.

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Stephanie Thorpe

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