Robert Polidori Versailles: Transitional States
Marie-Clotilde-Xavière de France, dite Madame Clotilde, artist unknown, 1773. Cabinet intérieur de Madame Adélaïde, Corps Central – R.d.C., 2007
London, Kingsland Road

Robert Polidori
Versailles: Transitional States

7 January - 6 February 2010


A project that has spanned over twenty-five years, Robert Polidori Versailles: Transitional States documents the transformation of the royal palace from symbol and heart of Ancien Régime France to a monument to modern day museumification. Polidori's images reveal the ambiguity involved in any restoration project: what happens to a room or structure when the old is made new? Versailles crystallises a very contemporary nostalgia complex. An 18th century palace restored by a modern society attempting to imagine itself as it once was, it is a visual citation of both past and present, a powerful invocation of history and modernity within the confines of a single frame.

For Polidori, rooms play a role as 'memory theaters' and receptacles for meaning. The paintings, sculptures and decorative elements that embellish the crumbling walls of the palace are symbols of historical displacement, players in the perpetual re-enactment of a simulated past.


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