Past: September 14 → December 12, 2010
Versailles has always brought together the greatest creative artists. Louis XIV brought Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Robert de Cotte, Charles Le Brun, André Le Nôtre, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Michel-Richard de Lalande, Molière, Carlo Vigarini, François Francine and Gianlorenzo Bernini, who created great works here.
Subsequent rulers invited Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Jean-Marc Nattier, Jean-Henri Riesener, Richard Mique, Jacques-Ange Gabriel, Hubert Robert, André Ernest Modeste Grétry and many others. Louis Philippe, who established the Musée de l’Histoire de France (Museum of the History of France) at Versailles, made use of the most illustrious artists of his era. We owe some of the masterpieces of the Galerie des Batailles and the Salles des Croisades, to such artists as Eugène Delacroix, Horace Vernet and Louis-Ernest Meissonnier.
It is in keeping with this spirit of openness to creativity that the Etablissement Public du Musée et du Domaine National de Versailles now wants to allow great artists of our own era to work at the locations under its care. Following the international success of the exhibition Jeff Koons Versailles in 2008, and the remarkable creation of site-specific works by Veilhan in 2009, it is now the turn of Takashi Murakami who is invited this year to present his work at Versailles. By creating new works for this occasion, which will be added to existing ones from his repertoire, he will continue Versailles’ long tradition of openness to creativity.
Murakami is one of the most celebrated artists of our time. The combination of his fame with that of the Château of Versailles will show the degree to which, despite the centuries that separate them, the masters of the past are able to enter into dialogue with those of the present, and vice versa. Murakami’s talent has created new imagery, drawing on both the resources of the tradition of his country, from the Japanese cartoons known as manga, but also pop culture. His virtuosity, his familiarity with precious materials and his sense of the mediating role of art, find, within the vast “machine” of creation, innovation and communication which is Versailles, a fascinating echo.
“For Japanese, myself included, the Château de Versailles is one of the great symbols in Western history. It is emblematic of an elegance, sophistication, and artistic ambition that most of us could only dream of. We understand, of course, that the fuse that sparked the fires of revolution led right through the center of the building.
But in many ways, it all comes across as a fantastic tale from a kingdom far, far away. Just as the people of France might find it difficult to recreate in their minds an accurate image of the age of the Samurai, so too does the story of the palace become one that is, for us, diluted of reality.
Thus, it is likely that the Versailles of my imagination is one that my mind has exaggerated and transformed until it has become a kind of surreal world of its own.
It is this that I have tried to capture in this exhibition.
I am The Cheshire Cat who greets Alice in Wonderland with his devilish grin, and chatters on as she wanders around the Château.
With my playful smile, I invite you all to the Wonderland of Versailles.”
Every day except Monday, 9 AM – 6:30 PM
The garden is open every days from 8am to 8.30pm
Full rate €13,50 — Concessions €10.00
Concession fee after 3pm