L’esprit commence et finit au bout des doigts — 20 ans d’engagement pour l’intelligence de la main


Drawing, installation, sculpture

L’esprit commence et finit au bout des doigts
20 ans d’engagement pour l’intelligence de la main

Past: October 16 → November 10, 2019

For one month, as part as the season dedicated to the “Scène française”, the Palais de Tokyo will host the various métiers d’art that have been rewarded and supported by the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller for the last twenty years, without trying to hierarchize the works or the crafts displayed. The sentence that has been chosen as the title of the exhibition is from L’Idée fixe ou Deux Hommes à la mer*, 1932 (translated into English as Idée Fixe. A Dialogue by the Sea, New York, Bollingen Foundation, 1965)), a novel by Paul Valéry. It sets up a dialogue with the lines by the author inscribed on the pediments of the Palais de Chaillot, a building located nearby and dating from the same period.

The exhibition is organized into four sequences which play on the variations of light intensity and on the dilation of space. It opens with a contextual introduction, designed as an astonishing cabinet of wonders and putting on display hundreds of pieces from the collections of the Beaux-Arts de Paris which celebrates the hands alone. These hands then become embodied, as the creative process is initiated. In the Workshop, visitors discover the faces, and the tools, machines and materials of the 281 French métiers d’art. The space then opens onto the city, and the creations are presented along a festive parade, bathed in natural light, and punctuated with the presence of vegetation, as in a happy vanitas still life. Finally, still images are set in motion and projected in a panorama representing various types of actions carried out to support the métiers d’art: restoring primacy to the senses, the panorama is also an invitation to imagine the future.

Curator: Laurent Le Bon
Design: Isabelle Cornaro

16 Trocadéro Zoom in 16 Trocadéro Zoom out

13, av. du Président Wilson

75016 Paris

T. 01 81 97 35 88


Alma – Marceau

Opening hours

Every day except Tuesday, noon – midnight
Closed on tuesday

Admission fee

Full rate €12.00 — Concessions €9.00

Free admission under 18 years-old, job seekers, those in receipt of income support…

Venue schedule