After a mammoth project designed to give the best possible background to its priceless art collection, the Carmignac Foundation has opened the doors of the villa to the public. Much more than a contemporary art museum, it’s a real artistic and sensorial experience that you mustn’t miss when you come to Porquerolles.
In the beginning…
Edouard Carmignac discovered the “genius of the place” when he was invited to a wedding here a few years ago, He immediately thought that it would be an obvious venue to house an exhibition space, open to all, for his contemporary art collection, with almost 300 works of art. This is exactly what happened in 2012 when work started. The idea is to offer you an intimate encounter with art. On the former grounds of la Courtade (or rather “under” the grounds), a museum was created with 2,000 m² of exhibition space.
Sea of desire
Nestled at the foot of the forest, Villa Carmignac presents part of the artists of Charles Carmignac’s collection, built up over 25 years. So you can get very close to iconic artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons or Jean-Michel Basquiat. You will even be surprised to come across paintings of Sandro Botticelli. Other, younger, artists, whose voices are just emerging in full force, await you on the upper floor. What else ?
The exhibition is designed as “a voyage guided by the thread of desire, which you have to follow and lose yourself in”. It owes its name to the works of Ed Ruscha and his giant billboard which closes it (an immense metal plate installed in the old tennis ground at the end of the tour).
From Basquiat to Botticelli
Whether you are passionate about art or not… this is a sensorial immersion with artists who are witnesses of a complicated world. Without revealing the whole collection, you will certainly be enthralled by around 80 works which can be seen at the Villa.
The exhibition Sea of desire is designed as a journey guided by the thread of desire, that you have to follow in order to lose yourself, right from the first stairs which take you under the surface. Artists in “rebellion” answer for a century, using different types of support, through eight chapters which structure the tour, from “Pop Icons Reloaded” to “Brave New World Revisited”.
Above your head, the former swimming pool has been transformed into a basin which filters the sun’s rays and makes them dance. Below, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Calder and Yves Klein, Ed Ruscha, Keith Haring, Maurizio Cattelan, John Baldessari or Miquel Barcelo will make your head spin.
The non-garden is the climax of the visit
You will then visit a garden which was designed as a non-garden. It respects local biodiversity. All the artists showing their works were invited to the island to use the inspiration of the island to create their own art. Jean Denant, Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils, Jeppe Hein, Gonzalo Lebrija, Wang Keping, Olaf Breuning, Tom Friedman, NILS-UDO, Jaume Plensa, Ugo Rondinone, Ed Ruscha… play around with nature and with your senses. A real treat.
Sandrine – lives in Porquerolles
It gave me the goosebumps. It’s full of emotion. I used to play in each room when I was a little girl. You don’t realise that the whole exhibition is underground.