September 06th, 2010

Murakami’s hall of mirrors

Take the world’s most famous & prolific Japanese contemporary artist and ask him to create work for arguably France’s most iconic, historic monument to grandeur of days gone by – and this is what you get. A smorgasbord of swirling contoured surfaces, a cacophany of colour and a sense of spirit and play to baffle and inspire.

Original Chateau de Versailles pieces would have been commissioned to demonstrate taste and wealth. This new addition is a spirited and emotional response to the rich, swirling surroundings.  A wormhole into the artist’s mind which is clearly a place of wonderment.

“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, 14 Sept-12 Dec @ Chateau de Versailles

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