If the items were really as its name, Tombées du Camion, (items fallen from the back of a truck) suggests, this little shop in Montmartre would never have lasted as long as it has. Tucked away in a forgotten passageway, between chic fashion and the questionable Pigalle area, is found one of the most interesting assortments of salvaged and found items in Paris.
A temporary resting place for unwanted and unclaimed curiosities, Tombées du Camion is like a museum of the odd, all squeezed into under 200 square feet. Everything in excess, from doll parts to police whistles and pill containers on display in wooden crates will hold you in it’s spell. There are French porno banners from the 1970s, rusted mortuary plaques (probably pried from old burial sites), and unused flasks of an opium cure for diarrhea. Most of these items are made in France, and every object has a story.
Much of the stock has been salvaged from attics and corners of old factories in random locations around France, often left after their usefulness seemed to have passed.
From old books that people no longer want, Daniel Lai creates art with several mediums in varied styles and subject matter, bringing new life to old paper. The artist, also known as Kenjio was born in Malaysia, moved to the United States in 2000, and is now living in Tennessee.
Each book sculpture is made by folding the paper to create a fan effect and adding a clay figure of a man. Each of the folded paper sculptures look like a large flower. The figure is then added to suggest a moment of thought. His series of “Thinker” sculptures echoes Rodin’s “The Thinker”
These literary sculptures show the need for knowledge and the limits time gives us to gain that knowledge.
Most guards today don’t actually carry firearms, unless they’re isolated away from the prison population. In the old days however, prison guards needed a little backup power while using both hands to open cell doors. Hence the creation of jailer key guns, a cell door key that doubled as a primitive one-shooter. These “turnkeys” were filled with gunpowder that would fire the miniature key-pistol in case there was any trouble from the prisoner when the cell door was opened. They may not have been too effective, having only one shot, but it was enough to discourage the plans of potentially dangerous prisoners.
Since most of the key guns were thrown in rivers and swamps after prisoners took them during escapes, they are now very rare and only line the pockets of antique collectors.
In 1974, a group of farmers digging a well after a winter drought in northwest China, unearthed fragments of a clay figure, that would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. They didn’t know it at the time, but the bronze arrowheads and pieces of pottery the farmers were going to sell in their village were part of a legend. Found near the unexcavated tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the self proclaimed first emperor of China, an underground army of life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses, was found, hidden for more than 2,000 years.
Fast forward to 1995. In Katy Texas, the construction of the Forbidden Gardens was announced. The army was replicated in one-third scale on 80 acres of former rice land outside Houston. Six thousand soldiers stand ready on a stretch of land about the size of a football field. When it was first under development, it was considered to be a 20-year project that would include a hotel, a 60-foot pagoda, a system of colored ponds, a waterway with boat rides and a Chinese-themed water park. The clay used to make the terra-cotta soldiers was said to come from the Chinese province that produced the originals, and the tiny palaces were built of Chinese wood.
The museum closed in 2011 to make way for a new section of a controversial ring road. With the Grand Parkway slated to cut right through it, the 80 acres was about to become very valuable freeway frontage. The soldiers could not be moved being permanantly afixed to their bases. It’s not feasible to save the Forbidden City. It will probably be destroyed because the liability is too great to leave it there.
In the times we now live the distinction between sacred and what is blasphemy walks a fine line. Berlin-based artist Miriam Jonas creates relief portraits of clerics inside tin-cans using a very unusual medium, Play-Doh. The result is a colorful version of art you might find hidden in the corner of a large place of worship. It’s an interesting topic just as the catholic church transitions to a new Pope.
All of her work is thought provoking, with its use of bright color and forms and makes us question what we consider normal.
Polka Popes, a large wall installation by Jonas, is made up of a series of fictional Play-Doh portraits of popes inside empty fish tin cans. They are a satirical look at consumer culture and the modern church, reducing larger than life figures into products ready for consumption. The fish cans are a reference to traditional Christian symbols.
One of the most famous dollhouses of all time, is Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. This detailed and finely crafted miniature house was the creation of the silent film star Colleen Moore. While she made the transition to talkies easily and with success, the Depression put her out of business. Her father suggested that she should follow her passion and create her own dollhouse. After all, her success as an actress meant that she had the resources needed to create something great.
The rooms are all actually modular units made of aluminum. There is functional plumbing for the bathrooms and fountains. From 1928 to 1935 more than 700 people helped Colleen create her dream dollhouse. Her helpers included architects, interior designers, Chinese jade craftsmen and Beverly Hills jewelers.Inside of the house include paintings and murals drawn by none other than Walt Disney himself. Chandeliers are encrusted with real diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. The books are all real, including the world’s smallest Bible which was made in the 1840s. Some of the statues are more than 2000 years old.
The dollhouse, renamed the “Fairy Castle” now resides in the Museum Of Science And Industry in Chicago. Millions of people from around the world have visited the Fairy Castle, since it was donated to the museum in 1949.
This necklace was made to represent the memory of my grandparent’s long staircase in their house. I want the viewer to see my history as the necklace wraps around, and to feel the sensation of climbing up and down the stairs as the images of my family line the walls. More importantly, I wanted my skin to show through as my family’s skin, so that my stories, my life and who I am as an individual is shown as the sum of all of the people that came before me.
I casted dollhouse frames from sterling silver and bronze, and printed my family directly onto the glass. I created a box clasp mechanism to support the weight of my loved ones.