Da-End: Cabinet of Wonders, Home of Aesthetes
On entering a private art gallery today one generally appreciates, apart from the quality of the works exhibited, the sobriety of the architecture and the neutrality of the space. Thus it is rare for the space itself to make as strong an impression as the works on display. This is the slightly unsettling observation one makes when crossing the threshold of Da-End. The private art gallery opened its doors this summer in Saint-Germain des Prés. (...) composed of three rooms, corridors, alcoves, a few lecterns and easels in which the light and shadows play on the rich colours of the walls. The space is a hidden gem, « halfway between a cabinet of curiosities and a secret abode » explain the gallery owners, the photographer Satoshi Saikusa and his companion Diem Quynh. This is an antechamber of an opium den or a boudoir, both of delights and pain. It is as if the spirit of the Symbolists and the Decadentistes, with Huysman at their head, had finally found a place to rest in Paris. A dwelling « à rebours », where the spirits of Verlaine, Baudelaire, Nerval, Poe and Mallarmé mingle with the contemporary works. Da-End signifies oval in Japanese, a term which evokes the intrauterine world, fantasies and nightmares, ecstasy and suffering. Artificialia, Curiosa, Naturalia, Erotica: it is beyond the boundaries of art and the starting point of a new quest: that of the search for the rare, the bizarre and the precious. Da-End is a marvellous anachronistic place: both dark and brooding where poisonous flowers grow in a greenhouse from which heady fragrances escape.
Paris, septembre 2010.