Feel at home

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Feel at home

Every year, Versailles welcomes a living artist to exhibit inside the castle as well as in the gardens. After Jeff koons, Murakami, Vasconcelos and Bernard Venet as on the picture, the doors open this season to Guiseppe Penone. The Italian plasticien has invaded the gardens of Versailles with his trees made of bronze or marble, mixed with the real ones that have shaded the kings. The outdoor exhibition glorifying the gardens and their designer, André Le Notre, creates a bridge between the « Grand Siècle » and our times as we celebrate, this year the 400th anniversary of Le Notre’s birth. There will be lots of events taking place all along the year, in some of its most beautiful gardens, from the Tuileries to Vaux le Vicomte.

Of course, such an installation of contemporary art in a glorious 1600s palace brings a controversy. It started with Jeff Koons and his inflatable dogs in the hall of mirrors that unchained the very conservative locals who considered it was a sacrilege to mix modern art with classic design. Imagine the controversy last year, as Vascocelos unvailed a chandelier made of…tampons! We need to remember that when Louis XIV decided to enlarge the hunting residence offered by his father to turn it into the gigantic palace we see now, he hired the most modern architects and designers of his time. Yes, versailles is a piece of contemporary history to the XVIIth century just as the Pompidou center in Paris belongs to the 1970s and the Shard in London is a symbol of our civilisation in the early XXIst century. Anything has to be modern creation to become an antique as long as it’s valuable enough to survive! I’m sure, the Sun King would have kept some of this pieces in his art collection!

Guiseppe Penone

Château de Versailles

www.chateauversailles.fr

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