Yassen Samouilov and Livia Stoianova from on aura tout vu just for fun…
PRESENTING SCENES FROM THE DAILY ROUND, BE IT REAL OR DREAMED on aura tout vu MIXES CODES AND MODES WITH GREAT GUSTO.
AN INVITATION TO TRAVEL IN TIME AND SPACE WITH CURIOSITY, WONDERMENT AND FANTASY AS YOUR GUIDES.
Chance and curiosity encourage meetings; walking past a shop window, an acquaintance in common, these are triggers for a collaboration… When, somewhat haphazardly, Marie- Claude Beaud, Director of the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco,walked into the on aura tout vu boutique-cum-studio in Paris, she discovered a world, two unusual personalities—those of Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov—but above all nothing less than a passion for fashion, accessories, and how to present things. At the same time the Museum team drew up a cultural project, “Training for a Museum”, whose goal, inter alia, is to protect, develop and spread the word about a national heritage that is as little known about as it is varied. The collection of dolls and robots, donated by Madeleine de Galéa—a close friend of Ambroise Vollard, and a passionate collector—is part of it, but its presentation raises both scenographic and museographic issues which are quite different from pictures and sculptures. These accessories for interiors, because this is indeed what it is all about, call for a special set-up, made possible by the exuberant imagination of the on aura tout vu twosome who devised the exhibition down to the tiniest detail. on aura tout vu breathes new life into the NMNM collections by comparing two visions of fashion, that of 19th century dolls, and their own! With their magic wand, they turn the Villa Sauber into a circuit of discoveries and surprises, plunging visitors into an amazing and festive world, where the boundaries of reality are jostled.
The Haute Couture costumes expand the refinement of this miniature world, while hybrid beings spring from their extravagant imagination. From Second Empire society gatherings to contemporary night clubbing, from astonishing black furniture to the universal magic of whiteness, from the dinner jacket to the bridal gown, from robot musicians to Lady Gaga the show offers a playful exploration of the world’s customs. Presenting scenes from the daily round, be it real or dreamed, on aura tout vu mixes codes and modes with great gusto. An invitation to travel in time and space with curiosity, wonderment and fantasy acting as your guides. This new cooperative project at the NMNM is the second part of the exhibition format “Looking upTM”, devised by the NMNM and ushered in with the artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE, proposing a veritable dialogue between works making up Monaco’s heritage and contemporary art.
THE MADELEINE GALÉA COLLECTION
Born on Reunion island in 1874, Madeleine de Galéa went to live in Paris with her mother when she was still a teenager. They both occupied a handsome villa in the Auteuil neighbourhood. At that time, Madeleine de Galéa already had a fine collection of dolls, and her mother, ever keen to please her daughter, went on offering her more. In that period in Paris you could find beautiful dolls with porcelain heads, nowadays called “Parisiennes”, or fashion dolls. This was how Madeleine de Galéa became a passionate collector, and would go on seeking out dolls throughout her life. After marrying the young diplomat Edmond de Galéa, she witnessed firsthand Paris’s bursting artistic life at the end of the 19th century. Among their many friends, the Galéas had opened their arms to one of Madeleine’s childhood friends, when he arrived in Paris, rootless, from Reunion Island, later to become the famous Ambroise Vollard. Madeleine de Galéa was widowed very young, and brought up her son single-handedly, while still devoting all her spare time to enriching her collection. Some years later, she would also raise her grandson when he lost his mother while still a boy. She kept a watchful eye on his education, and when he became a brilliant tennis player, she created the “Galéa Cup”, aimed at encouraging young people involved in sports. Ever curious about everything and anything to do with fashion, Madeleine de Galéa also collected old costumes, from the 18th and 19th centuries. To fill out her doll collection, she was never concerned about their brand or origin; she chose them to suit her own taste and attraction, serving nothing other than her own pleasure, with no didactic, technical or “scientific” overtones, as would be the case with a presentday collector. To do justice to all her dolls, during her search for more Madeleine de Galéa also gathered together the furniture and all the miniature accessories which, by being on the same scale as the dolls, enabled her to put them in their everyday setting. Before long, her villa was no longer large enough to house all her acquisitions, and she unhesitatingly purchased the house next door to be able to display her whole collection. But the collection of dolls and to-scale furniture soon failed to satisfy Madeleine de Galéa, who, while remaining in a somewhat related area, embarked on extending the focus of her interest to robots.
It was in fact at that time that advances of engineering were ushering in the creation and ever greater range of these amazing animated figures, which members of the upper middle classes had to have in their living rooms to entertain and surprise their visitors. So after offering her friends tea, Madeleine de Galéa would take them next door. There they could admire her collection in all its glory, as well as the furniture and the thousandandone little porcelain objects. Madeleine de Galéa had asked famous artists to make décors, be it trompe-l’oeil wood-panelled salons or landscapes. Once set in motion, her robots contributed greatly to the place’s strange atmosphere. Madeleine de Galéa did not stop at her doll and robot collection; she was a born collector, who put together collections of everything, but in particular dresses, ceramics, and many other items. At the end of her life, it would seem she endeavoured to bring together every manner of object with a Scottish tartan motif, pencil cases, boxes, cigarette-holders and robots clad in tartan fabrics—one such being the “Scottish bugle” robot, which was probably acquired in this latter period. After his grandmother’s death, in 1956, her grandson Christian de Galéa wished to make a gift of his grandmother’s collections. He contacted Prince Rainier III, who gladly accepted the doll and robot collection. And so it is that the dolls were installed in the spirit of Madeleine de Galéa in the Villa Sauber, which, for thirty years, was a showcase which certainly did them justice.