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Penance (Sacré-Coeur)

This high point in the city is a place of contradictions in the city’s history.

It is a cannon park, a gypsum quarry, a hot air balloon launch, a graveyard, a killing field. It is also a basilica, a holy site, a penance, a postcard.

It is here that the government, fleeing their approaching Prussian enemy, escaped to Tours by hot air balloon. It is here that the city’s civic guard stowed their cannons when the enemy marched triumphantly through the streets.

It is here that French soldiers ordered to confiscate those same cannons and to use them against their fellow citizens, turned instead upon their officers. It is here that the first blood of the Paris Commune was spilt as well as some of its last.

It is here that retreating communards became entombed in the hillside when their own army set off explosives to seal the quarry entrances.

It is here that the victors of that conflict built a church that could be seen throughout the city to remind the defeated of their sins.

It is here that each year millions of travelers come, drawn by the church’s glow, to pay homage to beauty.

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“The city does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”

~ Italo Calvino

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Reclamation. (Palais de Chaillot)

In the west there is a cinema. It was once the most famous cinema in the world. Cinephiles, both French and foreign, flocked to this place, a modest theatre in the basement of a grand institutional building, to see the flickering images dance across the screen. The film was collected piece by piece by one man. Over many years, with the eyes of a connoisseur, he scavenged from the discards of larger film houses, piecing together his collection until it was glorious in its breadth and sophistication. He protected it at all costs, smuggling it to safety when the city was occupied by fascist foreign armies. When the city was once again free, the cinema flourished and its influence spread. The collector shared his films with anyone that wished to see them. He developed a devoted following in Paris, in France and abroad. The cinema became a religion and it sparked two revolutions.

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“The subsoils of Paris is the eye could penetrate the surface, would have the appearance of a colossal Madre pore coral. A sponge hardly has more straights and passages than the clump of earth fifteen miles in circumference on which rests the ancient great city.”

~ Victor Hugo

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Memoriam. (A bout de soufflé or Breathless)

In the south there is a film scene. A director immortalizes a death in the streets on film. The scene is iconic but not for its heroics. It is not noble. There is no glory. The dying man is shot in the back and he staggers down the street, a prolonged death march, before collapsing in the middle of the road. He is not a hero but he is beloved. And the film changes the face of cinema.

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Index

1 Sacré‐Coeur
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

2 DETAIL: Sacré-Coeur
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

3 DETAIL: Sacré-Coeur
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

4 DETAIL: Sacré-Coeur
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

5 DETAIL: Sacré-Coeur
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

6 Sacré‐Coeur Map
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

7 Chaillot
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

8 DETAIL: Chaillot
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

9 DETAIL: Chaillot
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

10 DETAIL: Chaillot
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

11 DETAIL: Chaillot
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

12 Chaillot Map
2014
48x72cm
Ink and gold leaf on paper; Photoshop

13 Breathless
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

14 DETAIL: Breathless
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

15 DETAIL: Breathless
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

16 DETAIL: Breathless
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

17 DETAIL: Breathless
2014
48x72cm
Digital drawings (Autocad, Rhino, Illustrator), pencil, paint, ink, gesso, gold leaf and collage on wood

18 Breathless Map
2014
48x72cm
Ink and gold leaf on paper; Photoshop