Fondation Carmignac

Porquerolles is the largest and westernmost island of the Hyères archipelago. The surface of 1254 hectares makes it the second Mediterranean island of France after Corsica. Porquerolles can only be reached by sea and can only be visited by foot or by bicycle. Together with the forts, the lighthouse or the Mill du Bonheur, it is possible to visit the Villa Carmignac, with 2 thousand square meters of exhibition spaces and fifteen sculptures permanently arranged in the garden: Miquel Barceló, Huma Bhabha, Olaf Breuning, Jean Denant , Tom Friedman, Jeppe Hein, Wang Keping, Cornelia Konrads, Gonzalo Lebrija, Tony Matelli, Janaina Mello Landini, Bruce Nauman, Jaume Plensa, Michel Redolfi, Ugo Rondinone, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Nil Udo et Vhils.

Verne Dawson, Macedonia Road, 2013. Oil on linen, 182,9 x 4 x 213,4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, © Verne Dawson

Previously Villa Carmignac was a farm that Jean-Luc Godard used for the location of the film “Pierrot le fou” (1965). Then the farm was transformed into a villa and when Édouard Carmignac had the opportunity to see it he fell in love with it, bought it and shaped it as a place dedicated to the figurative arts. The project has developed and expanded in recent years thanks to the involvement of Atelier Barani and the GMAA agency. The building meets all museum standards: a sober design that fits harmoniously into the landscape, and above all it is the place where the Fondation Carmignac, registered in 2000, holds its public exhibitions and cultural events.

Otobong Nkanga, Tied to the Other Side (detail), 2022. Tapestry, 350 x 600 cm. Photo Fulvio Orsenigo, courtesy Otobong Nkanga & Galerie In Situ-fabienne leclerc, Grand Paris / Ouissem Barbouchi, Paris

Until November 5, Villa Carmignac hosts The Inner Island, an exhibition that explores an essential thrust of creation: the departure from reality as the premise of a deeper and more heartfelt interiority and the lyrical afflatus as a source of inspiration. More than eighty works by fifty artists, from private and public collections, including the Carmignac collection, together with new works, draw the dotted contours of an inner island, inviting each visitor to fill the gaps in his own way, so much so that staying in a place with limited boundaries can be a metaphor for an inner journey.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Most Beautiful of all Mothers (XII) (The Bison), 2015. Photo Thibaut Chapotot, © Adrián Villar Rojas, courtesy the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery and kurimanzutto

From Peter Doig to Anna-Eva Bergman, from Ali Cherri to Auguste Rodin, the exhibition proposes to confront visitors with these different worlds floating outside of known geographies and temporalities. The exhibition features “archipelagos”, as in Agnieszka Kurant’s installation sculpted by termites, under the water ceiling of Villa Carmignac. Strange presences, human, animal, hybrid or supernatural, populate the place, thanks to the paintings of Andrew Cranston and Verne Dawson, just as the sculptures by Francis Uprichard and Corentin Grossmann displaced in the gardens force us to confront lost or ultrahuman paradises. In addition, dizziness and other critical points await us in the solar or twilight universes of Harold Ancart, Marcella Barceló, Tursic & Mille and Christine Safa. A dream world appears before our eyes, a world dreamed and transformed by the filter of enchanted eyes. A set of multiple factors, such as the island’s energy, its scenic beauty, its suspended temporality and its fragility, open up worlds where poetry and dialogue are contagious, because they invite us to change scales and ask ourselves about the creative gesture of each individual artist and its current scope.

Norbert Schwontkowski, Sopot, 2010. Oil on canvas, 200 x 180 cm. Photo Jens Ziehe, courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

This is the complete list of authors present in the exhibition: Caroline Achaintre, Etel Adnan, Darren Almond, Harold Ancart, Giulia Andreani, Lucas Arruda, Jean-Francis Auburtin, Marcella Barceló, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anna-Eva Bergman, Ragna Bley, Tim Breuer, Alexander Calder, Ali Cherri, Francesco Clemente, Marcus Cope, Andrew Cranston, Henri-Edmond Cross, Verne Dawson, Jérémy Demester, Peter Doig, Jennifer Douzenel, Antoine Espinasseau, Helen Frankenthaler, Rodney Graham, Corentin Grossmann, Simon Hantaï, Camille Henrot, David Horvitz, Cathy Josefowitz, Pia Krajewski, Agnieszka Kurant, Roy Lichtenstein, Luz Moreno & Anaïs Silvestro, Jill Mulleady, Otobong Nkanga, Albert Oehlen, Bernard Pesce, Bernard Plossu, Sigmar Polke, Auguste Rodin, Christine Safa, Edgar Sarin , Norbert Schwontkowski, Kiki Smith, Léon Spilliaert, Tursic & Mille, Francis Upritchard, Frank Walter, Christopher Wool.

Corentin Grossman, M I C M A C, 2023. Set of 12 glazed earthenware pieces. Coproduction Fondation Carmignac and the artist, © courtesy the artist. Photo Nicolas Brasseur / Fondation Carmignac (The Inner Island exhibition view)

The Inner Island is an exhibition designed by Jean-Marie Gallais, art historian and curator. Since May 2022, he has been a curator at the famous Pinault Collection. He was formerly the head of programming at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, where he curated the exhibitions Peindre la nuit (2018-2019), Lee Ufan. Habiter le temps (2019), Folklore (2020), and Ecrire, c’est dessiner (2021). Ultimately, the postulate from which Gallais starts is that a dialogue outside the historical parameters in a co-presence where everything becomes current and contemporary, but this rhetorical a-historicity serves the curator to lead us to the fatal question: what is the meaning of a stance “aesthetic” that put us at a distance from political commitment and reality? At this point I would say that the question can find a correct answer only in the justifications that each of us will want to give or will be able to give.

Fabio Fabris


Various authors, The Inner Island
Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles Island
29/4/2023 – 5/11/2023
The Inner Island


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