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La Source: an immersive adventure on the Porquerolles island

Mar 27, 2019

Guest curator Chiara Parisi talks to TLMag about her curatorial practice, creating the exhibition La Source in Villa Carmignac on the Porquerolles island.

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Fondation Carmignac presents the exhibition La Source in Villa Carmignac from April 13 to November 3. The inspiration for this immersive exhibition is found in the architecture of the villa and Porquerolles island, where it’s located. Visitors will experience this first hand, as they’re asked to remove their shoes before entering the location to enhance their experience. In the villa, there’ll be over 60 artworks waiting to be admired. Chiara Parisi -guest curator for this unique show- talks to TLMag about the curatorial process.

TLMag: Could you elaborate on the exhibition “La Source” and your approach?

Chiara Parisi: The idea of La Source was born, following the invitation by Edouard & Charles Carmignac and it is developed around two major points of inspiration: the unique architecture of the Foundation and the point of view of a man (Edouard Carmignac) who decided to create his collection.

Indeed, when you enter Villa Carmignac on Porquerolles Island, you are drawn underground where your first discovery is Bruce Nauman’s fish ‘fountain’, a commissioned permanent work. You are further captivated as you find yourself beneath a water ceiling with light filtering through, moments before the way leads back to the park. It was this movement, this circulation and the presence of water that first inspired the creation of La Source.

The exhibition continues with the collection, which begins with the first acquisition: Max Ernst’s Alice in Wonderland, continuing with Old Landscape in Three Strokes by Theater Gates and Seated Female Nude by Egon Schiele and many Nymphs. My desire with the La Source is to show the vitality of a young foundation and to highlight the choices of the collector.

What were some important curatorial decisions you took?

It was important for me to highlight both the collection and the building. For example, in the underground space, the large Greek cross had to be visible and acknowledged. This is where the most institutional element comes in: the masterpieces in the collection are arranged to follow a specific flow, punctuated by external interventions by artists such as Forrest Bess, Elmgreen & Dragset, Cyprien Gaillard, Rosemarie Castoro and Annette Messager.

The exhibition continues upstairs, where the shapes and volumes of this historic Villa on the island of Porquerolles remain visible. These spaces are entirely inhabited with works by Sarah Lucas, who presents her first solo show in France.

Were there any challenges in the curatorial process?

When we consider the Foundation as a whole, there is the challenge of launching a new work in it – Rosa Barba, Fabrice Hyber, Betrand Lavier, Koo Jeong-A present works of rare power that have made a  permanent mark. As I say this, I am thinking in particular of Ed Ruscha’s Sea Of Desire.

The other challenge is the strong character of the space and the setting.  Villa Carmignac is in the heart of an island. You arrive by boat, walk through the forest and once you arrive you remove your shoes and continue on barefoot. This is already a strong experience and when the aim is to put together an exhibition that reflects this experience, it can prove to be a challenge for those who organize it.

Featured portrait by Philippe Levy.

© Fondation Carmignac – Photo Marc Domage
John Baldessari Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus# 127, 2007 185.42 x 182.88 x 266.7 cm © John Baldessari - Courtesy Marian Goodman
© Fondation Carmignac - Photo Lionel Barbe
Nils-Udo, La couvée, 2019 © Fondation Carmignac – Photo : Nils-Udo

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