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Jeff Koons Takes His Contemporary Culture to Versailles
Rabbit – exposé dans le Salon de l’Abondance
(1986)
Jeff Koons, Rabbit , Collection privée, Studio Jeff Koons. Stainless steel, 104,1 x 48,3 x 30,5 centimètres. Edition of 3 plus AP.


PARIS.- The Château de Versailles will present the exhibition Jeff Koons Versailles, which will be held from September 10th 2008, to December 14th, 2008 in the Royal Apartments and in the gardens of the Castle. This unique event will present seventeen Jeff Koons’ works, including his most signifi cant works from the Eighties to these days.

The project focuses on the close relationship between each work and the space surrounding it. The works have been selected specifi cally for Les grands
appartements at the piano nobile, composed by Les appartements du Roi (The King’s apartments) and Les appartements de la Reine (The Queen’s apartments), which formed a suite of several rooms “en enfi lade”. These large apartments are the most prestigious and important spaces of the Castle, since they were the offi-cial halls of the Sun King, composed as one of the richest expression of art and architecture.

The works presented in the exhibition have been selected in situ by Jeff Koons, highlighting an inner relationship between each artwork and the theme of the room,
or the specifi c features of the work and the decorative details and the furnishings of the location, such as the original ancient furniture, the stucco elements and paintings on the walls and the ceilings. Koons’ works create a relation with these sumptuous royal apartments, extraordinary expression of the Baroque period and visual representation of the grandeur of the Roi Soleil. The artworks are the icons of the dialogue between Jeff Koons artistic research and the Baroque art, particularly admired by the artist.

Rabbit, one of Koons’ masterpieces, will be located in Le salon de l’Abondance, the antechamber of the ancient cabinet des curiosités ou des raretés. The work is one of the most well-known and emblematic Koons’ creation. It has a glacial sensuality and lucidity, combined with symbolic levity and abstraction.

In the Queen’s apartments, Large Vase of Flowers is a colourful homage to the French Queen and to theme of maternity, since it will be presented in the room in which the “dolphins” – the princes designated to the crown - were born. The work also refers to Rococo, especially to Fragonard and Boucher.

Lobster is installed at Le salon de Mars, dedicated to the Greek god and, in the same time, to the planet. The colourful shape and design of the work derive from the inflatable children’s pool toys, but the material used by the artist – polychromatic aluminium - transforms this everyday objects into an unexpected works of art.

The exhibition will also include the gardens of the Castle, in which one important work Split Rocker, a sculpture created by ten of thousand fl owers, will be installed in the Parterre de l’Orangerie. Flowers are a recurring elements throughout Koons’ work: they are a symbol of life and grace. The work combined two different profi les of rockers – a blue rocking horse and an animated dinosaur – and these split parts are sustained by an interior architectural structure.

The King’s state apartment
The King’s State Apartment, which was remodelled several times, received its fi nal décor between 1671 and 1681 as a result of the work supervised by Charles le Brun who designed a suite of rooms dedicated to the planets gravitating around Apollo, the god symbolising the sun (Louis XIV’s emblem) in Greek and Roman mythology. It consists of a series of seven drawing-rooms overlooking the North Parterre, each romm having a specifi c purpose, buffets, games, dancing, and billiards, during the reception given by the the King for the Court. From 1684, it was exclusively use for audiences and Court entertainement since the King lived in the rooms overlooking the Marble Courtyard.

The Hall of Mirrors
The War Drawing-Romm, the Hall of Mirrores (73 metres long, 10.50 metres wide and 12.30 metres high) and the Peace Drawing-Room form a magnifi cient series of rooms extending along the western façade of the Château looking out onto the Grand Perspective of the gardens. The project was carried out by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and the painter Charles le Brun between 1678 and 1686. The paintings on the vaulted ceiling illustrate events in the lige of Louis XIV, from the time he began to reign in his right in 1661, until the Peace of Nijmegen in 1678. The King would pas through the Hall of Mirrors every day on his way to the Chapel. It was also a passageway between the King’s and Queen’s apartments Finally, the Hall of Mirrors was used for large receptions, royal weddings, and ambassadorial presentations (the throne woud be stup there for latter occasions).

The Queen’s apartment
The Queen’s Apartment, installed at the same tima as the King’s State Apartment, consists of four rooms. This apartment was occupied by each queen in succession (the last being Queen Marie-Antoinette) and several dauphines, and also underwent many changes, which explains the variety of decoratives styles in contrast with the unity of the King’s State apartment. This apartment, where the Queen lived out her public life (all of the royal children were born in the large bedchamber), was supplemented by private rooms overlooking the courtyards, allowing a greater degree of privacy.





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September 10, 2008

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