For its eleventh exhibition of contemporary art, the Palace of Versailles invites the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto this autumn in a new emblematic place. The Japanese artist will invest the gardens of the estate of Trianon inviting art, architecture and performance.
Contemporary art in Versailles
Since 2008 the Palace of Versailles has put on a number of exhibitions dedicated to French or foreign artists, each one lasting a few months. Jeff Koons in 2008, Xavier Veilhan in 2009, Takashi Murakami in 2010, Bernar Venet in 2011, Joana Vasconcelos in 2012, Giuseppe Penone in 2013, Lee Ufan in 2014, Anish Kapoor in 2015, Olafur Eliasson in 2016 and the group show “a winter journey” in 2017 : these artists have all created a special dialogue between their works and the Palace and Gardens of Versailles.
For the first time, the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto will install his creations within the domain of Trianon, a domain dedicated to the privacy of sovereigns.
An exhibition in Trianon
In an attempt to gain some brief respite from courtly etiquette, the kings of Versailles built themselves more intimate spaces close to the main palace. Adjoining the Petit Parc, the estate of Trianon is home to the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces, as well as the Queen’s Hamlet and a variety of ornamental gardens.
Construction on the estate began under Louis XIV, who had the Grand Trianon Palace built at the far end of the northern branch of the Grand Canal. The estate is perhaps most closely associated with Queen Marie- Antoinette. The wife of Louis XVI regularly sought refuge at the Petit Trianon, where she commissioned marvellous landscaped gardens centred around a hamlet of cottages built in the rustic style then in vogue.
The Petit Trianon, considered to be royal architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel’s masterpiece, is something of a manifesto for the neo-classical movement. Completed in 1768, it provided Louis XV and his new mistress the Comtesse Du Barry with the privacy which was so sorely lacking at the palace. This new royal residence was in fact an extension of the king’s passion for the botanical sciences: he was keen to have a home in the heart of the gardens to which he devoted so much of his time and which, by the time of his death, were among the most richly-stocked in Europe.
Alfred Pacquement, curator for contemporary art in Versailles
Jean de Loisy, President of the Palais de Tokyo