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This installation is based on Raymond Queneau’s novel Zazie, originally published in French in 1959. In the novel, the small-town girl Zazie visits her uncle who leads a colourful life in Paris. Away from her protective mother, she wants to experience everything the metropolis has to offer: the metro, the famous streets, the sights, flea markets and bars. During her trip Zazie changes from a decent little small-town girl into a poised and wild Parisian in jeans.
I took my first trip to Paris in the summer of 1994 and made it my mission to conquer the city like Zazie had done. Queneau’s book was a starting point for the project, which I began by systematically getting familiar with the city; in a list of Paris streets, I underlined all that had names referring to a country or city outside France. Once I found one of the streets, I looked for a detail that would have something to do with the place in the street’s name. The result was an adventure in a strange city and a symbolic trip around the world.

Just like Zazie, I stumbled around in a maze of sights, enjoyed cold cacocalo on the most famous boulevard of them all – Singermindépré (Bl. Saint-Germain-des-Prés) – took in the city’s air and bought a pair of brand-new jeans from a flea market in the city’s outskirts.Like Queneau’s book, my interpretation of Zazie is perhaps more a story about Paris than Zazie herself, but her candour, courage and verbal ingenuity are nevertheless the foundation of my work and I have tried to live up to her example in the installation.

See more images of the project:

  • Heidi
  • Alice
  • Installation views
  • > back to Heidi,Alice,Zazie

  • ZAZIE in Helsinki City Art Museum (2002)
    Hun cacocalo au Singermindépré. Colour photograph 24x30 cm
    La tour Eiffel . Colour photographs.
    Les rues de Paris
    Les rues de Paris - Details: Rue de Rome, Rue de Moscou, Rue de Naples
    Souvenirs de Paris. Colour photographs 13x18 each
    Souvenirs de Paris. Colour photographs 13x18 each
    Les meilleurs parfums de Paris: Eau de Seine (Colour photograph 24x30 cm)
    Les meilleurs parfums de Paris - details
    Les meilleurs parfums de Paris. Perfume bottles and 8 c-prints 24x30cm each
    Le vrai tabac du vrai coin. Colour photographs 24x18 cm each.