The ephemeral pavilions of the Colonial Exhibition

The ephemeral pavilions of the Colonial Exhibition


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

  • The temple of Angkor and the basin of Guadeloupe.

  • Tunisian souks.

    SMITH Francis (1881 - 1961)

  • Flag of Morocco.

    SMITH Francis (1881 - 1961)

To close

Title: The temple of Angkor and the basin of Guadeloupe.

Author :

Creation date : 1931

Date shown: 1931

Dimensions: Height 3 - Width 3

Technique and other indications: Stereoscopic view.

Storage location: Quai Branly Museum - Jacques Chirac website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Picture reference: 97-020190 / FondsPétropoulos, box A, n ° 3

The temple of Angkor and the basin of Guadeloupe.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

To close

Title: Tunisian souks.

Author : SMITH Francis (1881 - 1961)

Creation date : 1931

Date shown: 1931

Dimensions: Height 46 - Width 38

Technique and other indications: Oil on cardboard.

Storage location: Quai Branly Museum - Jacques Chirac website

Contact copyright: © ADAGP, © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - All rights reserved

Picture reference: 77-001149 / 75.5823

© ADAGP, Photo RMN-Grand Palais - All rights reserved

© ADAGP, Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Publication date: April 2008

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

A visit to the Colonial Exhibition of 1931

The various documents brought together make it possible to discover three monumental-looking pavilions erected on the occasion of the Colonial Exhibition of 1931. The Grande Avenue des Colonies served as a major promenade, with dazzling views of the colonial palaces erected by the France: Oceania, Martinique, Réunion, French Indies or Guyana, Morocco and Algeria. The documents gathered here also testify to the care and magnificence brought to these ephemeral achievements, of monumental size, and intended to accommodate explanatory sections on the riches of the colonial world.

Image Analysis

A gigantism worthy of the Universal Exhibitions

The grandiloquence of the reconstructions is in line with the staging offered in the universal and international exhibitions organized in Paris since the 19th century.e century. The raising of monumental pavilions represented a real architectural challenge. It was a question of building structures that were both ephemeral but strong enough to receive several hundred thousand visitors over a period of several months. The night photograph of the reconstruction of the Angkor Wat temple bears witness to all the theatrical staging desired by the organizers of the Colonial Exhibition. The play of light made it possible to create an atmosphere that was both exotic and festive, serving the propagandist message of the event: that of showing the influence of the republic as a colonial power. The Indochinese temple was one of the major attractions of the Exhibition. Six years of preparatory work had been necessary for the architects Blache father and son to finalize the plans for this ephemeral building of a volume roughly equivalent to the Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The two watercolors by Francis provide an authentic glimpse of the reconstruction of Tunisian souks and of the Moroccan pavilion, adorned with flower gardens. The souks are typical trading places of the Arab world, and visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to do some shopping for colonial products. Most of the Colonial Exposition pavilions were destroyed, some returned to their countries. Others have survived and found a new use, like the pavilions of Cameroon and Togo which were reassembled and converted into a Buddhist pagoda in the Bois de Vincennes.

Interpretation

The colonial staging: an ideology

The exaltation of the colonial world had always had a large place in the Parisian Universal Exhibitions, in particular in 1867 then in 1900. Portions of indigenous villages were usually recreated, with typical architectures and the presence of extras hired to play typical scenes, sell exotic products or provide catering services. In 1931, it was much more than a small portion of the international event that was intended to exploit these exotic atmospheres. It was for the organizers to demonstrate the influence of the Republic as an imperialist power, but also to convince the citizens to engage further in colonial exploitation. At the end of the Great War in which the "Dark Force" played a major role, the contribution of the colonies represented one of the spearheads of French policy. The project managers therefore insisted on the didactic and propagandistic dimension of the Exhibition. Pavilions similar to those shown here generally housed rooms with explanatory panels, objects and products that were intended to demonstrate the mineral and food wealth of the settlements.

  • architecture
  • exoticism
  • Colonial exhibition of 1931
  • colonial history
  • night

To cite this article

Claire MAINGON, "The ephemeral pavilions of the Colonial Exhibition"


Video: EXPO MILAN 2015 Part I people and pavilions