Espace Krajcberg: A Hidden Art Gallery In Montparnasse

Facade Espace Kracjberg | ©Beatriz Forti
Facade Espace Kracjberg | ©Beatriz Forti
As the most visited city in the world, it’s certain that Paris has innumerable cultural activities to experience and discover. A profusion of exhibitions, countless galleries, and constantly opening venues imbues Paris with a rich and diverse artistic identity. Within the city, certain areas stand out for being historically rich in cultural, such as the Marais, Saint-Germain, or Montmartre. In addition to these established areas, Paris’ creative diversity also offers hidden gems to those who stray from the beaten path. Espace Krajcberg is one these secrets, read on to find out why.

While checking out the new art gallery, the Villa Vassilief, in Paris’ 15th arrondissement you’ll also want to discover the Espace Krajcberg – an old atelier belonging to artist, Frans Krajcberg. Born in Poland, Krajcberg lost his family during the Second World War, and was forced to flee his country. Krajcberg arrived to Kazakhstan, then he went on to France before finally settling in Brazil. It was in Brazil where he regained his sense of peace and stability after obtaining Brazilian citizenship. It was during this time that Frans Krajcberg built a house and devoted his time to his artistic production.

Espace Kracjberg facade ©Beatriz Forti

In Brazil, Krajcberg delved into the world of ceramics and increased his artistic production, which led him to exhibit his work in several museums and galleries, and in 1957 he received the prize of Best Brazilian Painter. After touring through several cities in Brazil, he returned to Paris at the pinnacle of the New Realism art movement, and met artist Yves Klein, as well as art critic, Pierre Restany. Along with Restany and artist Sepp Baenderenck, Krajcberg set off on a trip to the Amazon rainforest. The journey had a profound impact on the artist due to the massive destruction of the forest tiself and the ensuing devastation that had on the local community. Determined to become engaged with this cause, in 1978, Kracjberg launched the ‘Manifesto of naturalism’ or ‘Manifesto of the Rio Negro‘ to denounce the environmental destruction in the Amazon.

Manifest on the facade ©Beatriz Forti

Back in Brazil, Krajcberg stayed close to nature as a way of being ‘away from the barbarism of men’. It is during this time he developed the technique of adding natural pigments to foraged burnt wood from the forest, giving it back life by creating moving pieces. This technique denounces the practice that he is so passionately against, such as destroying forests for unnatural purposes.

Burned wood sculpture ©Beatriz Forti

In 2003, as his donation to the city of Paris, the Espace Krajcberg in Montparnasse opened its doors in order to present to the public the works of Krajcberg. More than an exhibition place, the Espace was created to be a site to discuss the role of art as an alternative to ecological survival.

Facade Espace Kracjberg ©Beatriz Forti

Still involved as an environmental activist, Krajcberg participated at the COP21 in Paris last year, and brought native Brazilian tribal members to support his cause. The current exhibition displayed in the venue is called ‘Manifest‘ and shows his art pieces, some documents, and a video about his process of production and his engagement to help save the forests. It is the perfect place to visit, discover, and ponder the current environmental conditions of our Earth.

Espace Krajcberg, 21 avenue du Maine 75015, Paris Open everyday from 2 PM to 6 PM, except Mondays