Voyage d’hiver: walking through art at Versailles

Curated by the Palais de Tokyo, the tenth edition of the collective “Voyage d’hiver” is a poetic walk through the gardens of the château de Versailles, where the works of 17 contemporary artists dialogue with those wanted by the Sun King.

Cloud Cities: du sol au soleil by Tomás Saraceno, view at “Winter Journey”, Jardins de Versailles. Photo © Andrea Rossetti, 2017

Tomás Saraceno brings an immersive cloudscape to the gardens of the château de Versailles, comprised of ground level and floating sculptures, designed to draw the visitor’s attention the sky. The artwork in its entirety is, more than anything, a bridge to the clouds and thus, an immediate link to the pressing issues of new materialism, ecology and global interconnectedness today. Modular settlements comprise a complex yet eloquent network, emblematic of the artist’s practice and carrying his conceptual endeavour for new forms of future living, in symbiosis with natural terrestrial and planetary forces, and different levels of interspecific cohabitation.  

Saraceno is one of the artists invited to take part into this 10th edition of the “Voyage d’hiver” exhibition, welcoming numerous contemporary artists to dialogue with Versailles’ ever-transforming light: solar or otherwise. This year, “Voyage d’hiver” proposes a poetic promenade through the gardens of Versailles. In what is one of the largest open-air sculpture museums in the world, 17 contemporary artists are adding their own works to those originally commissioned by Louis XIV. These artists, dialoguing with the curators, have designed a dramaturgy leading visitors through the groves, the curious open-air salons of greenery in the gardens of Versailles. Sculpture, sound installation, painting, drapery, reflection, oxidization and glaciations are just a few of the techniques employed: metamorphosing a stroll into a personal experience, allowing visitors to perceive nature’s transformation from the glory of autumn to the starkness of winter.  

Ugo Rondinone has inserted a solar wheel that acts like a hyphen between the two groups of groves, in front of the Mirror Pool of the Grand Canal. As if pulled by Apollo’s chariot, this bronze sculpture, comprised of interwoven branches, evokes both the solar corona and its effect on nature – thus incarnating the theme of manifestation. It links the two extremities: the northern side, where Marguerite Humeau’s sphinx dedicated to the riddle of Destiny is set in the cul-de-sac of the Triumphal Arch Grove and the southern side, a mise-en-scène created by Stéphane Thidet in the Ballroom Grove. Between these two polar opposites lie the works of artists firmly established or up-and-coming; artists from different countries, genres, and generations, all of whom have had a connection at one time or another to a fragment of the history of the Palais de Tokyo.

Exhibition title:
Voyage d’hiver
Opening dates:
22 October 2017 – 7 January 2018
Exhibition venue:
Château de Versailles
Marguerite Humeau; David Altmejd; John Giorno; Dominique Petitgand; Mark Manders Jean-Marie Appriou; Cameron Jamie; Hicham Berrada; Ugo Rondinone; Sheila Hicks; Tomás Saraceno; Anita Molinero; Oliver Beer; Louise Sartor; Rick Owens; Stéphane Thidet; Cécile Minard

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