“Paris Escapades” is a beautiful book of Paris collages by Sir Peter Blake. Blake demonstrates his unerring sense of felicitous and unexpected juxtapositions, a gift for visual story-telling and an eye no less acute for having a permanent twinkle. As with the Venice images that preceded them, Blake features many familiar monuments in his Paris pictures but submerges them in extraordinary events that turn them into the stuff of dreams. There is enough air of reality in some pictures, such as the Seine freezing over, to entrap the unwary spectator. But as elephants are hoisted above Notre Dame cathedral and crowds gather for a charabanc outing or for a mass kiss-in that even festival-going hippies would have found a bit extreme, the beauty and allure of Paris becomes populated by the overactive mind of one of the great imaginative artists of our time.
Each of the 28 images in” Paris Escapades” is accompanied by the artist’s wry commentaries, and the book is preceded by an interview with Marco Livingstone in which Blake discusses his lifelong involvement with collage. Hugely entertaining as a visual voyage of discovery, “Paris Escapades” ends up a window into the methods and thought processes of a much loved artist.