paris

Thomas Hirschhorn

Galerie Chantal Crousel

The ancient Egyptians entombed their pharaohs in rooms filled with the worldly possessions of the deceased. Thomas Hirschhorn’s Chalet Lost History, 2003, is also brimming with objects, including a massive sarcophagus. But who is buried there and why? Obviously someone with a keen, if somewhat perverse, taste for all things from the land of the Nile. You couldn’t walk through the two floors of the gallery without bumping into some display of Egyptiana: a table of miniatures and figurines laid out as if in a vitrine at the Louvre; a section of floor covered with fragments of kitschy ceramic decor copied from broken Egyptian reliefs; a wall of photos showing some of the many sphinxes, obelisks, and other Orientalizing ornaments one can see throughout Paris; or a bookshelf containing dozens of volumes on the Near East.

High art and Orientalism have gone hand in hand ever since Napoléon’s

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