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'The inner island': New exhibit at France's Villa Carmignac blends art into the landscape

A visitor at the Villa Carmignac
A visitor at the Villa Carmignac Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Frédéric Ponsard
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The artworks on display at the Villa Carmignac in southern France are drenched in light, despite its newest exhibit being underground.


Off the coast of southern France is the island of Porquerolles, which is home to a picturesque villa where nature and art coexist.

A temporary exhibit entitled 'The Inner Island' is currently being displayed at the Villa Carmignac. The show includes works of more than fifty artists and they blend into the villa and the island.

"It's a case within a case, and this year you could even say it's an island within an island," Charles Carmignac, the director of the Fondation Carmignac, told Euronews Culture. 

"There's a kind of mise en abyme [placement into abyss] of the island since this 'Inner Island' will allow you to open a breach and penetrate other layers, other dimensions of this island." 

The more than 80 artworks come from both public and private collections, including works owned by the Carmignac Foundation. And are currently displayed drenched in light, despite the exhibit being underground. 

Image of the transparent pool at Villa CarmignacEuronews

"You go below the surface but there is also a pool, so that lets the sunlight through [to the bottom floor] so the sunlight comes through the water," Carmignac added. 

"This means that the exhibition spaces are certainly below the surface, but they're illuminated, the sunlight comes through and you have more the impression of being under the sea than under the earth in fact."

The pieces are an ongoing dialogue between past and present, interiority and exteriority. And they span multiple genres and eras. 

"We're in a very quiet place, a bit cut off from time," Jean-Marie Gallais, an art historian and the exhibit's curator, said. "You don't really know what geography you're in either. It's obviously very Mediterranean, very ancient. 

The sculptures are in dialogue with nature, with the landscape, and throughout this exhibition, there's this connection between inside and outside, between nature and artifice, between the island and the works of art." 

The exhibit will run until 5 November and is a must-see for your summer in Europe.

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