Saturday, 29 March 2008

HR Giger in Paris - December 2004

Have you ever noticed, that any time you might be looking, and happen to come across information regarding the Award of La Medaille de la Ville de Paris to HR Giger, that the text you will find is always the same sentence, word for word ?
Although this does state the fact, that the Event took place, here now is something different for you to read, an account that is written by One who was there.

La Medaille de la Ville de Paris is a prestigious cultural Award that is actually equivalent to an honorary citizenship of Paris and is the highest honour that can be offered by the French capital.
The Medal's history dates back to 1792 when an artist named Jacques-Louis David called for the creation of a series of medals that were to be modelled on ancient Greek and Roman coins which would commemorate glorious events and the men that caused these events to take place.
This resulted in a long series of medals that were designed to depict and propagate revolutionary ideals, beliefs and incidents of that time which would glorify the history of the French Revolution.

On Friday 17th December 2004, La Medaille de la Ville de Paris was awarded to HR Giger in recognition of His achievements and to honour this unique Artist's outstanding contribution to the world and progression of Modern Art.

During my time at home between the months of September and December 2004 I was involved in a great deal of communication with Leslie Barany regarding and arranging a purchase of Giger Art.
It was during these arrangements that Bijan Aalam became involved and through these communications my purchase and plans for collection were finalized.
Bijan Aalam is a long term friend to HR Giger and is Giger's agent in France.
The suggestion was made that if I was able to travel to Paris and meet Bijan to collect my purchase, then I would be able to attend the ceremony of HR Giger receiving his Award and that I would have opportunity to photograph the Event.
This of course, was a suggestion that could not have been more perfect for me, and I accepted.
Bijan had reserved a room for me in the same hotel that HR Giger and Carmen Maria Scheifele were to be staying at in the Montmartre area of Paris, all this of course before Giger and Carmen were to marry in 2006 and the Director of HR Giger Museum would become Carmen Scheifele Giger.

Once again, I found myself enjoying a visit to Paris and staying in the same area of the French capital as before, during my September visit, and in very close proximity to Halle Saint-Pierre.
Le Monde Selon HR Giger was still on exhibition in Halle Saint-Pierre at this time and a Book Signing session had been arranged to take place on the following day, 18th December 2004, which I was also able to attend.

On the morning of Friday 17th December 2004, I joined the company of HR Giger and Carmen to make our way to the nearby Metro station of Abbesses as there were no taxis available on that morning.
We travelled together on our journey to Hotel de Ville where the ceremonies of that day were to take place.
On entering Hotel de Ville, an overwhelming sense of stepping back centuries in time flowed through me as we walked through the grandeur and splendour of the interior decoration.
We were met by an Aide of Hotel de Ville who guided us to where the ceremonies were about to begin and we all took our places amongst others who gathered there.

Quite a number of other dignitaries were present here, in this room, and HR Giger stood together with all those who were to be awarded with La Medaille de la Ville de Paris.
The two presiding hosts for these ceremonies were Christophe Girard who is the Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Culture, and Christophe Caresche who is the Deputy Mayor in charge of the organization of the Council of Paris.

Here you can see these two gentlemen listening intently as HR Giger gives his acceptance speech just before the Awards were given.

Also present in this room of ceremonies were quite a large number of people and onlookers with cameras in their possession.
It was within this line of people that I was trying to find good position for taking the photographs that I was able.
Fortunately, the two photographs that you see here, and others that I was able to take on this day, are the result of my persistence within the small crowd, thus giving a photographic record of this once in a lifetime Event.
An air of jubilance and celebration filled the ceremony room after the Awards had been given and time was taken for all to reflect on the morning's proceedings.

Our group left Hotel de Ville and we made our way to the nearby Louvre Palace for some lunch.
We all sat together at a table in Café Marly, which is housed in buildings looking on to the courtyard of the Louvre Palace.
After our lunch, we continued into the exhibition rooms of the Louvre and spent some hours of the afternoon making our tour through the hall ways of this historic and incredible building.
Unfortunately, the larger areas of the Egyptian exhibits, which were the strong desire of Carmen's to visit, were closed.

Later in the afternoon, some of us parted company, while myself and others made our way back to the Montmartre area of Paris to our hotel, weary but jubilant from the unique experiences of this day.

For Saturday 18th December 2004, a Book Signing session had been arranged and advertised to take place in an auditorium room, housed below ground level, in Halle Saint-Pierre.
There was also an interview with HR Giger, given by a French television station, in the first floor exhibition hall.

My time spent at Halle Saint-Pierre and the authority given to me by HR Giger, allowed me freedom to roam and capture what I could on celluloid of that afternoon's events and my surroundings.

The rarely seen rear view of Biomechanoid 2002, taken from behind, showing the incredible spine detail and precision of Giger's Sculpture.

The length of the queue that wound its way down the stairs of Halle Saint-Pierre to the Book Signing session.

If the young lady pictured here, alongside HR Giger, would happen to see herself in this Blog and would like to be identified here, please contact me via email in My Profile and I could add your name.