Location | Paris: Meet Field School Blogger Wei Heng Liu

Meet Wei!
Tell us a little bit about yourself—school, background, major, reasons for taking this trip, anything else interesting you want to share.

Looking at a video installation at the Palais De Tokyo,
from left to right: Courtney, Rosaura, Erin, Andres and Wei.
(Photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
Hi everyone, I am Wei Heng. I am a 4th year Bachelor of Fine Arts student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Painting is my favorite medium to use in my art works, but I often question myself about doing paintings because it is challenging to come up with a new image which has not been done by others. The innovative invention in technology also makes traditional art mediums seem less effective and powerful. Therefore, I am taking both history and studio classes in Paris Fine Arts Field School to see how other contemporary artists express their ideas in their art works, and to experience a different culture outside of Canada. I am excited to explore Paris where I have never been to before, and I believe this trip will give me lots of inspiration for my future art practices. Plus, I am finishing my last two courses at Paris to complete my degree. My time at Kwantlen will end perfectly with full of wonderful memories at Paris with my instructors and classmates.

Seeing the buildings of Paris from atop the Arc de Triomohe helps set the city plan in perspective.
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about Paris so far?

The street leading up to our hotel in the 19th District of Paris.
I am surprised by the architecture in Paris. There are many beautiful antique buildings in the city. They create a romantic atmosphere. Their apartment buildings have one big wooden entrance door which has a security panel beside it, and there are tiny balconies and spiral pattered railings on each floor. Some of the first floor is used as business space, such as stores, restaurants, and cafes. I think it is fascinating to see how those antique buildings function as part of the modern city. Moreover, I was surprised by how the buildings are organized when I got to see the view of Paris at the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Except for the humongous Eiffel Tower, all the buildings have the similar height and aligned to the wide boulevards. I also saw some modern skyscrapers at a far distance, and the view of sunset was amazingly beautiful.

Give us some insight into your assigned art work from the Musee d’ Orsay. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?

Mary Cassatt, Girl in the Garden (1880-82)
My assigned artwork in the Orsay is Mary Cassatt's Girl in the Garden (1880-1882). Cassatt, an American painter, focuses on the subject matter, women, from a female point of view. When I found my painting located at a corner in the top floor, there was a woman standing in front of the painting and copying it in oil painting with her easel and sitting on a stool. I felt quite angry because she blocked my view, but at the same time, I was happy to see there was another person who really appreciated this painting. I was disappointed about the location of the painting because I think this very important painting deserves a bigger space for display. It was too closed to other paintings. I think the colors and brush strokes that Cassatt achieved struck me the most. The figure is luminous, especially her glossy dress. I saw details of her dress which had various colors and tones in layers, such as green, purple, blue, and white. I actually started to appreciate the quick sketchy background of the painting because it made an interesting contrast with the vivid depiction of the figure. I felt the painting become more lively, colorful and three dimensional when I saw it in person.

Today’s activity was at the Galeries LaFayette Department Store. What were your impressions?  What will you take away of the experience?  What, if any are the memorable moments for you?
Exterior shot of Galeries LaFayette, a place
that drew many different reactions from students
Today's activity was at the Galeries Lafayette to observe the commodity culture in Paris. When I entered the department store, I felt excited to see the luxuries on the display counter. They looked attractive and glamourous. The lighting in each store focused on the items, and the space was comfortable to walk through. Everything has its own brand name. I also saw an expensive dress which costs 7,0000 Euros. When I saw people lining up to buy those luxuries, I wanted to question the true value and the necessity of those luxuries in our daily life. Comparing Lafayette with other vintage stores, which are small and full of unorganized things, I felt I was free to search what I want in the vintage stores, but in Lafayette, I was constantly aware of other customers' and staff's gazes. I was afraid and anxious to touch the items on the shelves. The experience in Lafayette was very interesting and unique.