Versailles Contemporary Art Exhibit

2 August 2012 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

joana vaconcelos versailles   june 18th to september 30th, 2012

 

Paris-born lisbon-based artist joana vasconcelos is currently taking over the palace of Versailles in France with her large sculptural works as part of the château’s annual contemporary art exhibition. Installed within the state apartments and gardens of the expansive property, vasconcelos’ work creates a dialogue dealing with contemporary idiosyncrasies where the dichotomies of hand-crafted / industrial, private / public, tradition / modernity and popular  / erudite culture.

 

my work has developed around the idea that the world is an opera, and Versailles embodies the operatic and aesthetic ideal that inspires me. The works that I propose exist for this place. I see them as linked to Versailles in a timeless way. When I stroll through the rooms of the palace and its gardens, I feel the energy of a setting that gravitates between reality and dreams, the everyday and magic, the festive and the tragic. I can still hear the echo of the footsteps of marie-antoinette, and the music and festive ambiance of the stately rooms. How would the life of Versailles look if this exuberant and grandiose universe was transferred to our period?

Joana has interpreted the dense mythology of Versailles, transporting it into the contemporary world, and evoking the presence of the important female figures that have lived here, while drawing on her own  identity and experience as a Portuguese woman born in France.

 The south end of the palace’s ‘hall of mirrors’ where ceremonies and important events in the history of France were staged, hosts ‘marilyn’, a pair of high-heeled sandals constructed from the repeated arrangement of stainless steel pans and lids. the mammoth-scale high heels, standing within this vast hall, creates a Gulliver effect, and are an ode to women’s achievements both on public and private spheres.

 

‘blue champagne’, a monumental work comprising two vertical twin structures and incorporating thousands of champagne bottles lit from their interior, stands on either side of the rectangular water parterres that stretch in front of the palace’s terrace. While respecting the architectural symmetry of Versailles, the structures introduce a verticality that contrasts with the immense horizontal lines of the landscape. Visible from inside the hall of mirrors, the two elements subvert the domestic scale of the referenced objects – candlestick holders or bottle racks –, while their shape and architectural dimension resemble the flamboyant verticality of the late gothic.

 

‘lilicoptère’ is a helicopter that has been decorated in the same vein as Versailles’s aesthetic universe, covered in gold leaf with thousands of rhinestone embedded on its exterior. The cockpit and blades seem to have been invaded by an extravagant and colorful coat of ostrich feathers that have been dyed in hues of salmon, pink and orange.

Entry filed under: Europe 2011.

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