Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

Paris, France. I returned to one of my favorite museums to see what's new. The design intent of the Museum of the Hunt and Nature is to be a "belvedere opening onto a wild space". Like a belvedere, they provide thoughtful and unexpected "views" of the human/animal relationship, mixing history with modern art.

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The current temporary exhibition presents a group of artists in open-air-residence at Belval, a Hunting Park turned Nature Preserve, exploring the relationship between landscape as a symbol and territory as the place where we actually are. The exhibition entry is a step up overlook onto a idealized painting.

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Each photo in this series is fixed at an angle, not hinged or movable. The angle shifts gradually across the wall, from the story side most revealed to the image side most revealed.

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The same set of cards is provided separately, so visitors can see both sides of all of them, but the partial wall mounted views are more intriguing.

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These take away sheets are padded, wall mounted.

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A darkened area shows eerie night camera footage, projected on gauzy double layer fabric. The occasional breaking of a twig underfoot heightens the attentive mood. 

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A sandy corridor is hushing, because visitors automatically fall silent as they pass across this surface.

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A discussion beautifully captured, and the rest of the story on plates.

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Hardware and wayfinding are beautifully integrated in the main museum.

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Each animal has it's own cabinet, with content neatly organized by shelf, drawer, sliding panel or viewer. The typography is burned into the wood surfaces. These cabinets honor the prey on the same level as the hunter.

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Multi lingual panels hang on a wall hook in each room. A fox sleeps on a chair...

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...and another brilliant way to say "Do not sit", with a thistle instead of a sign

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Throughout, the house, animals roam freely, sometimes observing visitors.

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Modern art is incorporated throughout, from subtle to overt, expressing the visceral feeling of the wild and points of view from macabre to humorous. Overall the art equalizes the reflection between animal and man. Like this poignant video of a unicorn in the rain

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And this big coiled feathered serpent.

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A video of the sky, with an occasional falcon flying past, crying out.

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Artists' labels are distinguished by background color only.

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The modern art perspective provokes visitors to observe the traditional collection more vividly, like these sculptural bird calls...and falcon hoods.

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And raises questions about pets (tame animals) as co-hunters and the crossover role of apes. The museum seems willing to recognize the savage and the tame in all of us.

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Menacing wallpaper.

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An unmakred button outside the trophy room makes the boar's head speak, or I should say grumble, incoherently.

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Signage/interpretation is so subtle and physically integrated here that it drops out of awareness, or falls into a deeper one.

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The use of a reflective material in this word reflects both inner and outer nature.

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