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“Dream of Ulysses” at the Carmignac Foundation

And if Ulysse, in his journey, had failed in Porquerolles? In its exhibition “The Dream of Ulysses”, the Carmignac Foundation offers an adaptation of the myth, by offering the visitor a free and sensory journey, in a magnificent selection orchestrated by curator Francesco Stocchi. An invitation to travel to the island of Porquerolles not to be missed, from April 30 to November 16.

We can never stress this enough: what the Carmignac Foundation offers the public, more than a visit, is an experience. As soon as you enter, the immersion begins with a proposed infusion, which comes from the morning dew collection. A whole poetic symbol, which invites you to take your time. Then, visitors are invited to take off their shoes to enjoy, barefoot, the coolness of the slabs in the exhibition halls built under the main building of this listed park: a blessing for anyone visiting in the heat of the day, and a ritual that adds to the proposed disconnection.

This year, after the success of the “Imaginary Sea”, it is at the heart of the “Dream of Ulysses” that artistic immersion is offered. Here, we take our time, and the exhibition curated by Francesco Stocchi skilfully combines a few pieces permanent, elements from the foundation’s collection, and works that complete the artistic line.

Vue d’exposition Le Songe d’Ulysse - Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles
Oeuvres de Roy Lichtenstein et Niki de Saint Phalle
© Fondation Carmignac - Photo Marc Domage

Un temps d’immersion


Ici, tout est une question de tempo. La scénographie propose une immersion progressive, avec une salle de préambule où l’on retrouve une tapisserie à l’esprit très labyrinthique. Puis un temps de pause, entre contemplation et méditation, est proposée avec le sas bienfaisant de Bruce Nauman et d’Olafür Oliasson : entre fontaine sculpturale et  des poissons-volants,  le visiteur est invité à un lâcher-prise tout en douceur, à s’imprègner progressivement du lieu, au cœur d’installations sonores et visuelles.  Il s’ensuivra un deuxième sas, avec une œuvre monumentale de Martial Raysse, récemment acquise et pour la première fois dévoilée au public : in assemblage de regards, avec cette fascinante beauté plastique propre à la signature de l’artiste, qui cette fois, ajoute à ses esquisses de visages, des éléments en relief. Initialement,  le tableau était modulable, il atteint ici sa phase finale et change même de nom pour devenir «  faire et défaire Pénélope ».  

Vue d’exposition Le Songe d’Ulysse - Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles
Oeuvres de James Rosenquist et Arcangelo Sassolino
© Fondation Carmignac - Photo Marc Domage

Then the visitor, in confidence, is invited to get lost, under the water mirror. An installation created in situ by Jorge Peris overturns values: here, a stranded ship becomes a central landmark. At the crossroads, it constantly sends the visitor to another perception, while playing with light and shadow, between protection and perdition…

The pleasure of getting lost


It is up to everyone to let themselves be carried away to determine their route, at the heart of an improvised maze; at random works glimpsed in the distance, on which the gaze rests, commitments, of trompe l’oeil. Some installations are revealed at a crossroads, others respond to each other. And it is all the specificity and the interest of this wandering game. Far from the constraints of signposted routes, everyone feels free to come and go. The impatient ones locate at the bend of intersections, in the games of perspectives or the effects of mirrors, the works to come, others will choose to let themselves be carried away, step by step, like a labyrinthine trial and error. Are alternated in the routes of installations, plastic and photographic works. We will retain for example the superb Richter, like the surprisingly white Warhol; the choice is vast in these 70 or so exhibited works.

Vue d’exposition Le Songe d’Ulysse - Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles
Oeuvres de Jenny Holzer et John Baldessari
© Fondation Carmignac - Photo Marc Domage

A daydream


From the tormented, even anxiety-provoking journey – like Sossalino’s installation – to a real introspection, the dream is experienced as a too long drift of Ulysses, between dreamlike white impression like a spatio-temporal shift, between immersion in a new dimension, and a memory game. Identity, spirituality, science… everyone builds their own odyssey, at their own pace, and with their own rituals. Because the strength of this scenography, beyond delivering the entire space to the visitor, like a paradox, is to find this stranded ship. We go back, we start again, we circumvent… and each time, it’s a new approach to the work, a new vision, appropriation.

Vue d’exposition Le Songe d’Ulysse - Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles
Oeuvres de Camille Henrot, Haris Epaminonda, Tony Matelli et Yves Klein (reflet)
© Fondation Carmignac - Photo Marc Domage

Alors, comme un signe de douceur dans ce dédale, la fraîcheur des dalles sous les pieds nus rappelle aux visiteurs la sensation du sable ferme, lorsqu’il est humide, et le garde arrimé au rivage, prêt à partir, la tête dans les embruns du voyage.  

Nathalie Degardin

The artists (not final list) : Micol Assaël, John Baldessari, Miquel Barceló, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marinus Boezem, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Francesco Clemente, Adger Cowans, Willem de Kooning, Niki de Saint Phalle, Olafur Eliasson, Haris Epaminonda, Leandro Erlich, Urs Fischer , Cyprien Gaillard, Douglas Gordon, Duane Hanson, Keith Haring, Jacob Hashimoto, Camille Henrot, Jenny Holzer, Thomas Houseago, Rashid Johnson, William Kentridge, Yves Klein, Oliver Laric, Roy Lichtenstein, Tony Matelli, Adam McEwen, Janaina Mello Landini, Bruce Nauman, Marilène Oliver, Jorge Peris, Alessandro Piangiamore, Benoît Pype, Carol Rama, Ann Ray, Man Ray, Martial Raysse, Odilon Redon, Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist, Miguel Rothschild, Arcangelo Sassolino, Egon Schiele, Cindy Sherman, Günther Uecker , Willem Adriaan van Konijenburg, Adrian Villar Rojas, Andy Warhol …