By Julie Lautier, originally published on CRASH MAGAZINE
In the tormented and quarantined night of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, only one hotel resists: La Louisiane. The ghosts of Beauvoir, Sartre, Cossery, Miller, Twombly who once inhabited it continue to pass by the travelers in the labyrinthine corridors, who hope to find a trace of them. Here one does not come to seek luxury or appearance but the quest for a lost freedom, introspection too. The hotel has always inspired artists who have generously rewarded it with works of art. Lucian Freud painted his cell there while Nan Goldin captured it in a still life. Keith Haring had fun drawing on the bathroom towels. A drawing by Sophie Calle, as if forgotten on a wall after an exhibition*, looks at us. The hotel remains alive despite the circulating disease, despite the curfew, despite the obligation to stay home.Tenacity runs in the veins of the hotel and in its whimsical genealogy. La Louisiane never closed for a single day, whatever the cost…
It resists by being able to keep its door open, to continue the dialogue and without ever letting silence set in. So the artists continue to come to the hotel to leave their mark and pay homage to this astonishing liner that watches over the Bucci market. A graffiti artist has made the roof its own, and multimedia artist, poet and performer Eros en Feu (Henrik Aeshna) is curating private film screenings at the hotel, projecting, among others, the cult classic More by Barbet Schroeder in the room 36 where scenes were shot in 1969. Like a memory of a time that one would not want to forget. A blue island of resistance in insurgent Paris, the owners dream of one day creating a literary prize, of soon hosting a new collective exhibition, a veritable crossroads of diverse expressions and contestation. In the meantime, they simply want La Louisiane to remain the hotel of free exchange, a place where everyone feels free to exist and exchange.
*Curating Contest exhibition – 2008
Julie Lautier is coming out with a book on La Louisiane shortly.