Opening today is the presentation of Japanese Pop artist, Takashi Murakami at the Château de Versailles. Murakami has over twenty works on display scattered through out the gardens and halls of the palace. The estate has turned into a wonderland of fantasy sculptures, a mix of futuristic traditionalism, even the “Oval Buddha” sculpture has added a sense of fitting nature to the grounds.
Many French traditionalists are still very shocked and startled by the Superflat movement that distracts the ornate decor of Versailles. However, there is a plentiful amount of contemporary energy and the contrast between the two, creating a sense of “harmony and disharmony” words used by the curator Laurent Le Bon telling PRI’s THE WORLD. Within the past couple of years, Versailles has experimented with other contemporary artists such as American Jeff Koons and last year by Frenchman Xavier Veillan. The social experiment and the integration of Western art and Superflat has a similar complex feel, but pushes all boundaries of excessiveness.
“For a Japanese like me, the Château de Versailles is one of the greatest symbols of Western history. It is the emblem of an ambition for elegance, sophistication and art that most of us can only dream of. Of course, we are aware that the spark that set fire to the powder of the Revolution came directly from the centre of the building.
But, in many respects, everything is transmitted to us as a fantastic tale coming from a very distant kingdom. Just as French people can find it hard to recreate in their minds an accurate image of the Samurai period, the history of this palace has become diminished for us in reality.
So it is probable that the Versailles of my imagination corresponds to an exaggeration and a transformation in my mind so that it has become a kind of completely separate and unreal world. That is what I have tried to depict in this exhibition.
I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château. With a broad smile I invite you all to discover the wonderland of Versailles.” [Takashi Murakami]The exhibition is on view till December 12th, 2010. Takashi Murakami is soon to have simultaneous solo exhibitions this month in both Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea on September 17th, New York and at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris on September 15th. Photography courtesy Rodolphe Nantas from Trendland