The Musee du quai Branly in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly one of the premier cultural institutions of Paris. Instantly recognizable because of its lush plant wall designed by the botanist Patrick Blanc, it opened in 2006, and focuses on non-European cultures. Boasting a theatre, a reading room, a cinema, a restaurant and a bookshop, the building designed by the famed architect Jean Nouvel is situated in grounds resembling a cultivated wilderness, and its 2-hectare garden is a pleasant spot in which to relax after the visit.
The permanent collection and temporary expositions at the Musée du quai Branly pay homage to the wealth of traditional arts and educate visitors about their significant contribution to world heritage. With an extraordinarily rich collection of 700,000 photographs and 300,000 artefacts and objects – musical instruments, fabrics, clothing – from Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas, the museum takes visitors on an eclectic and fascinating voyage of discovery into the cultures of distant lands across the centuries.
The temporary exhibitions at the quai Branly offer a highly original perspective on the cultures that make up their themes. They are offset against contemporary Western civilization to make them more familiar and accessible, while preserving the mystical aspect that makes them endlessly fascinating.
Ghosts and Hells: The Underworld in Asian Art
10 April to 15 July 2018
This spring, fantastical creatures from the spirit world are invading the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac! From 10 April to 15 July 2018, the special exhibition Ghosts and Hells: The Underworld in Asian Art pays tribute to Japan, China, and Thailand through ghostly figures and spiritual worship.
A wide-ranging look at the popular beliefs that have haunted the Asian imagination for centuries, Ghosts and Hells: The Underworld in Asian Art is the chance to get to know Asian art and culture through paintings, theatre, religious art, cinema, and comics – a spine-chilling experience.
The place where spirits never die, the boundary between the land of the living and the underworld, is entrenched in tradition. Phantoms from hell, yokaïs (creatures from Japanese folklore), J-Horror (Japanese horror fiction), vengeful cat-women, Pac-Man, errant forest spirits, and even thirsty vampires all have, over the course of history, disturbed the masses – and they continue to do so through various artistic incarnations, as visitors come face-to-face with them during this original, mystical exhibition that is just as fascinating as it is frightening.
Paintings from Afar
From 30 January 2018 to 6 January 2019
From 30 January 2018 to 6 January 2019, the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is offering the public a rare opportunity to discover unusual works from its collections. The exhibition ‘Paintings from Afar’, featuring some 200 canvases and graphic works dating from between the end of the 18th century and the mid-20th century, is an invitation to travel, from the Americas to the Middle East, from the Pacific to Northern Africa.
Emile Bernard’s scenes of day-to-day life in Cairo, Ange Tissier’s Odalisque, drawings and prints by Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse of their travels to Tahiti, as well as George Catlin’s famous drawings of Native Americans are displayed alongside canvases shown at the 1931 Colonial Exhibition. The show illustrates how painters drew their inspiration from authentic landscapes, still untouched by mass civilization, and immortalized the habits and customs of the populations of countries all around the world. This also gives an insight into the way in which Western societies viewed distant populations, societies and lands over time; from the fantasy portrayal of an exotic culture to realistic, ethnographic, and propagandistic paintings.
‘Paintings from Afar’ is a unique opportunity to discover the worlds of artists from varied backgrounds, witnessing history and portraying day-to-day living far removed from those of a rapidly expanding colonial Europe.
Open daily except Monday: from 11am to 7pm (ticket desks close at 6pm)
Evening openings until 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (ticket desks close at 8pm)
Closed on 25 December and 1 May
Garden opening times: from 9.15am to 7.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday and from 9.15am to 9.15pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.