Mark Manders

Star Grove

Dry Clay Head

In its center, the Star Grove features the monumental split head created by Mark Manders. It is one of his derivative works from his project Self-portrait as a Building. His fictional and progressive self-portrait is a mix of an eclectic array of cleverly selected iconographic references merely creating “a fictional Mark Manders”.

Presentation of the artist’s work by the curator of the exhibition


Dry Clay Head


Star Grove

Of the grove originally conceived in 1666 by André Le Nôtre remain only pathways leading to a central pentagon-shaped platform. The Star Grove owes its name to these pathways whose plan forms a star: from the four corners, four pathways penetrate inside the grove and lead to a circular walkway.

How to get to the grove ?

About the work

In its centre, the Star Grove features a monumental split head of an androgynous figure. The sculpture utilises the surrounding space as a resonance box, amplifying the feeling of solitude and melancholy that inhabits it. For Manders, “there are empty spaces in the human world in which you can show things in their naked form”, and his creation is about arranging them. Here the work questions the illusion of the passing of time: it looks like a work made of clay that may have started to crack as it dried. Yet this aged appearance is faked; the bronze has frozen an instant of time and given it the appearance of a kind of eternal youth, like that of Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse.

About the artist

Born in 1968 in Volkel, the Nederlands, Mark Manders lives and works in Ronse, Belgium.

Since 1986, Mark Manders has been working on Self-portrait as a Building. Manders uses objects to create a self-portrait in space, combining architectural elements with an eclectic array of cleverly selected iconographic references; and blends ancient Greece with Flemish painting, or the Italian Renaissance with outsider art. Nonetheless, the artist insists that the person depicted in his self-portraits is merely “a fictional Mark Manders” invented by viewers. This penchant for illusory tautology is especially evident in his choice of titles, intended to describe precisely what the viewer sees. Yet here again, it is but an illusion: “My work is an ode to the fictional, ‘as if’ way of thinking.”

The artist website

Come and wander around the groves of Versailles


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