The more than 100 objects in “The
Roofs of Paris” exhibition at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) transport
viewers back through the ages, from the 18th century to the present. During
this journey, they learn about the history, styles and cultural meanings of the
The display includes historical three-dimensional
architectural models, oil paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and
postcards, as well as new media installations developed by CityU’s School of
Creative Media (SCM).
Organised in collaboration
with Le French May, the exhibition will be held from 26 May to 23 July at CityU
Exhibition Gallery (Gallery).
Officiating at the opening ceremony on 25 May
were Mr Eric Berti, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and
Macau; Professor Way Kuo, CityU President; Dr Andrew Yuen,
Chairman of the Board, Le French May; and Mr Emmanuel Bréon,
Curator of the Exhibition and Chief Curator of the Cité de l’Architecture et du
“CityU wants to bridge technology with art through
this highly creative exhibition. Art doesn’t stand alone. Nothing stands alone.
At CityU, we want to continue to seek ways to integrate art with technology,”
said Professor Kuo in his welcoming remarks.
Mr Berti thanked CityU for bringing such an
exciting exhibition to Hong Kong. “This beautiful exhibition shows us how the
cityscape of the French capital has been a source of inspiration and admiration
throughout the years,” he said.
The oil painting Roofs by Jean
Hélion in 1960
The emblematic skyline of Paris
comprises some of the best-known monuments in the world, from the Gothic towers
of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the dome of the Pantheon, to the Eiffel Tower. The
Paris we so admire today, however, is largely the result of Baron Haussmann’s
massive urban renewal project of the 19th century, which introduced major
boulevards, uniform building styles and façades, new bridges, parks, and public
spaces. The Paris cityscape has inspired some of France’s most famous artists,
such as Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Monet, Pissaro and Van Gogh, among others.
The roofs of Paris are such an important cultural
heritage that they have been submitted as candidates for registration on the
UNESCO World Heritage List.
The voyage at the Gallery
begins with the older Paris, depicted in such notable artworks as 18th-century
paintings of the city, early prints and drawings of famous monuments, and a
magnificent model by the architect Viollet-le-Duc for the restoration of Notre-Dame’s
A new media
artwork: Map of Turgot: An Augmented Reality Installation
At the turn of the 19th century,
historic photos and documents help reconstruct the building of Galeries
Lafayette’s celebrated department store and cupola. Paris rooftops continue to
inspire artists throughout the 20th century, for instance in paintings and
photographs by Willy Ronis and the painter Jean Hélion, both working in the
mid-20th century; and this extends even into the 21st century with the work of
the photographer Michael Wolf. The survey ends with a section explaining the craft
of roofing, revealing the mastery required to build and restore this beautiful
skyline through original objects, tools, films, and photographs.
CityU’s SCM has created the new media artwork Painting
your City for this exhibition. The piece allows visitors to paint
their own postcards with a digital paintbrush, and then send them out by email.
Other new media artworks by SCM include: Map of Turgot: An Augmented
Reality Installation, and Over the Sky of Paris.
Such well-known museums as
the Musée Carnavalet, the Musée de Montmartre, the Cité de l’Architecture et du
Patrimoin, the Musée des Arts et Métiers, and the Médiathèque de l'Architecture
et du Patrimoine are loaning their works of art for the first time to a venue
in Hong Kong, making this a truly exceptional event.