“Olafur Eliasson, Palace of Versailles”
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
June 7 – October 30
This summer Olafur Eliasson has been invited to exhibit his work throughout the chateau and gardens of the Palace of Versailles through October 30, 2016. This is the eighth site-specific installation at Versailles, curated by Alfred Pacquement since 2013. Other exhibitions at Palace of Versailles have included Jeff Koons in 2008, Takashi Murakami in 2010, Giuseppe Penone in 2013, and Lee Ufan in 2014. Olafur Eliasson previous works have included installations, paintings, photography, and public projects that function to bring awareness of cognitive and cultural conditions that inform and taint our perception. His works at the Palace of Versailles act as “devices for the experience of reality,” investigating movement, embodying experience and feelings of self. His installations aim to re-contextualize natural phenomena, and position art as an active exchange and experience, rather than an autonomous object. There are three works located within the gardens and six within the palace.
The outdoor installation is a triptych of water pieces that simultaneously engage visitors senses and exemplify the motif of water – liquid, fog and ice – as a dominating force found in classical gardens. The main feature, Waterfall, is in the Grand Canal through the central axis of the garden, constructed with a crane, stainless steel, pump system and ballast. Flanked by two bouquets or groves (l’Etoile [The Star] and la Colonnade) that support the Waterfall. One housing a circular veil of fine fog, Fog Assembly, and the other a carpet of glacial residue, Glacial Rock Flour Garden.
Playing off one of the Palaces most notable features, the Hall of Mirrors, and baroque surroundings, the works inside the chateau focus around the theme of the gaze with a series of mirrors and mises en abyme. The rooms are amplified with the multiplication of points of view. Displacements and destabilization of the rooms change our impression and allows visitors to become active participants within the space. Throughout the pieces Olafur Eliasson creates reflections in unexpected locations, makes the rooms seems larger and transformed, revealing their hidden secrets.
“The Versailles that I have been dreaming up is a place that empowers everyone. It invites visitors to take control of the authorship of their experience instead of simply consuming and being dazzled by the grandeur. It asks them to exercise their senses, to embrace the unexpected, to drift through the gardens, and to feel the landscape take shape through their movement.” Olafur Eliasson