MAMAC is one of those places that you can visit again and again and again. You will notice from my previous articles about it that I have waxed lyrical about the building itself. This feeling has yet to dissipate. Even though it is one of the first ports of call any time I have visitors in Nice, I have yet to tiure of it. It has not yet grown to occupy the place of contempt into which I have placed both the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, both of which I was forced to visit countless times as friends and family came to visit me in China.
So, when my friend Matt and his girlfriend came to Nice, one of the first places on my list to take them was MAMAC. Unlike the Great Wall or Forbidden City and unlike most of the other attractions in Nice, there are aspects of MAMAC that are in a constant state of flux. The architecture of the building – which is a tourist attraction in itself – doesn't change. Neither do the top two floors. However, the bottom floor is dedicated to installations and travelling exhibits. So, you are always guaranteed to see something different.
When I visited MAMAC for the first time, the ground floor was dedicated to a display that was made up of art-work that used primary colour. Therefore, it was a feast of bright and bold yellows and blues that really slapped the visitor in the face and left them with few questions. I visited this exhibition with my girlfriend, but also with my mother when she came to visit.
When Matt and Gemma were in town, things were very different. The main exhibition featured the French artist Yves Klein as well as Jonathan Byers and Anish Kapoor. For this there was a colour theme, but it was very different to the previous display. Klein featured predominantly works that were done in blue, Byers was all about white and Kapoor was very aggressively red. The displays brought some fantastic contrast. Klein featured works in the hypnotizing of blues (There is a sculpture that resides in MAMAC permanently of the same ilk). There were pictures and sculptures that all seemed to transfix visitors. The most enthralling of these was a pool of blue powder that brought an almost tactile hypnotism to proceedings.
The Byers room was possibly the most relaxed place in the world and was almost as wonderful as the Klein display. It featured a series of displays that diffused a wonderful soft white light. It was almost futuristic in the way it used modern shape and technology, but created a light that was warm and homely. It was wonderful. The only let-down was Kapoor, who produced a series of sculptures in deep blood reds that evoked imagery of slaughterhouses. I will concede that the contrast to the other displays was stark and enlivening (I presume that is why they were placed together), but I could not enjoy the piece sin individuality.
Even though it was my fifth trip to MAMAC, I loved taking the trip and will be going again.