Three years ago, a tragic fire partially ravaged the historic Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

Almost immediately work was set to revive the iconic Paris landmark. Now, Alliance Française de Singapour is showcasing that journey through (RE)BIRTHS, a spectacular exhibition on the construction and successive restorations of Notre-Dame.

It goes without saying that Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris remains one of the most iconic symbols of France throughout the centuries. (RE)BIRTHS, will further encourage dialogue and introduce a deeper understanding of the legacy of this French monument. Running from 15 April – 15 June, the programme is part of the ongoing French Excellence programme and is accompanied by a series of talks, film screenings and workshops.

Rebuilding An Icon

A universal symbol of Paris and France and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral has fascinated and inspired pilgrims and visitors all over the world for more than eight centuries and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of “Paris Banks of the Seine”.

Home to some of the most important relics of Christendom, the cathedral bears incredible historic, artistic, architectural and religious significance. On 15 April 2019, the violent fire that partially ravaged Notre-Dame de Paris provoked strong emotions throughout the world and an exceptional surge of generosity and solidarity.

Since then, a collective adventure has taken shape and an unprecedented construction site has been set up to rebuild Notre-Dame de Paris in five years, sparking important discussions on conservation and culture.

A Virtual Insight

The main exhibition of (RE)BIRTHS presents the history of Notre-Dame in 3D models, virtual reality (VR), videos, photographs and computer-generated images, investigating the origins of the cathedral’s construction from the first stone to the renovation site. Visitors wishing to explore the cathedral can step into “Notre-Dame de Paris: Journey to the Past”, a fantastic VR tour of the cathedral.

Initially developed by French video game company Ubisoft to re-create the cathedral in Assassin’s Creed: Unity (2014), Ubisoft has now released the 5,000 hours of graphic work and research, guided by historians in this unique VR experience. The experience offers the possibility of rediscovering the cathedral from different points of view, including some which are inaccessible to the public such as the roof or the flying buttresses, set in the heart of a lively Paris at the end of the 18th century.

Notre-Dame

At the same time, companion exhibitions also on display at Alliance Française de Singapour include The Security Site in Comics featuring the work of renowned French-speaking cartoonists that looks back on the primary operations of the cathedral security site and the trades that have been mobilised, as well as Eternal Notre-Dame, a fine art photo exhibition by famous French photographer Michel Setboun.

Paying tribute to Notre-Dame, Setboun showcases his craft in three distinct styles to depict the changing representations of the cathedral. Each photograph from this exhibition is available for sale as limited-edition pieces.

The Legacy Of Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame books

Throughout the duration of the exhibitions, Alliance Française de Singapour will also be hosting a dynamic series of talks, film screenings and workshops. Highlights include Quasimodo, A Musical Story, a musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, from Sing ‘Theatre.

Also on the programme are French film screenings including the documentary Notre-Dame de Paris by Jules and Gedeon Naudet on the heroes of the fateful night of the blaze. There are also talks including a conference on the legacy of Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, French architect, author and prominent restorer of French medieval landmarks and a discussion on the reconstruction of Notre-Dame with its frontline master builders, and French cultural workshops for all ages.

Check out the full schedule for (RE)BIRTHS here.

(Images:  Alliance Française de Singapour /Arron Teo Photography)

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