September 16, 2010
A recent art installation at the Versailles Palace is causing a stir among the French. Pieces of sculpture Takashi Murakami's modern artwork---including the 18-foot "Oval Buddha"---are set to appear in a two-month exhibition entitled Murakami Versailles that will fill the rooms of the World Heritage site. The exhibit, which opened this week, has protesters who don't believe that Japanese Pop Art has a place on the palace grounds. Via the Japan Times:
There are many who fail to see the link between the splendour of France's royal palace and the manga-inspired work of Takashi Murakami and, as the Japanese provocateur prepares to unveil a controversial exhibition of his sculptures, the stately calm of the chateau has been disrupted by an unseemly row over contemporary art.
Ahead of next week's opening, which will feature 22 of Murakami's eye-catching works go on show in the salons and gardens of Versailles, more than 11,000 people have signed petitions claiming the show is degrading and disrespectful. Royalist activists, convinced it is also illegal, have protested outside the palace gates.
But for the artist, filling the historical landmark with contemporary art serves as a bridge between traditional and modern art. From the Versailles website:
Murakami Versailles is a walk, a trail through the “landscape area” of Versailles. For his first major retrospective in France, in the 15 rooms of the Château and in the gardens, the artist presents 22 major works, of which 11 have been created exclusively for this exhibition. The general public will be able to view and admire his creations, which are often technical masterpieces. The allegories and other myths of Versailles thus carry on a dialogue with the dreamlike creatures of Takashi Murakami, sometimes inspired by traditional Japanese art. “I seek to produce a creative process which is a bridge between the past and the future” he likes to remind us.
What do you think of Murakami's artwork appearing in Versailles? To learn more about the exhibit, click here.