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Art Installations in WHS

Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 5 May 2019 03:44 | Edited by: Solivagant 
There appears to be a growing trend to use World Heritage Sites as locations for large (albeit temporary) "Art Installations". These are often justified on the basis that they help the viewing public appreciate the values of the WHS! Call me cynical, but I wonder if the real reason isn't more self serving – a WHS represents a heaven-made opportunity for an artist to show off his/her work to a captive public, gain much publicity and, no doubt make some money as well. In between these 2 extremes it could be said that the spaces offered by WHS do provide a good location for exhibiting large artworks and that there is no need to get too "precious" about linking the meaning of the artwork to the site itself.

An obvious concern is that there should be no permanent damage to the WHS arising from the installation. Another is that the artwork shouldn't detract from the visiting experience of those who have come to appreciate the inherent values of the site. I personally was not "pleased" to discover that Carcassonne's exterior had been disfigured when I visited last year ( My review) and felt that the whole thing was just typical of the "Disneyfication" of the site. On the other hand I found the WWI commemorative Art work at the Tower of London very successful. I am just not sure about the new Anthony Gormley installation on the Island of Delos – We visited 2 years ago and my feeling is that the island can probably take it. Conversely I would not be pleased to turn up at Pompeii or Herculaneum having paid for my ticket only to discover that the Houses of the Beautiful Courtyard and the Cryptoporticus had been transformed in order to "create a new dialogue between contemporary art, Roman wall painting and archaeological remains."!!

What do other WHS Travellers think about the use of WHS for these purposes?

I have wondered if we should begin to "collect" records of these installations – possibly as a "Connection". A difficulty might be that there could be just so many of them and I am not sure how we could limit them to "significant" ones. We could exclude installations in Cities since almost every city is likely to have such an installation at some time or another. ....

Anyway – here are links to the 4 Art Installations I mention above!
Tower of London

Have Forum members experienced or do they know of any other examples - whether egregious or successful!

Author Parsons
#2 | Posted: 5 May 2019 05:48 
I visited Versailles during the exhibition by Jeff Koons in 2008.

It was actually pretty funny shuffling through the palace just wondering what weird garbage was awaiting us in the next room. I guess I enjoyed it a lot ironically, due to the contrast between the stuffy palace regalia and a porcelain doll of Michael Jackson, for example. My dad hated it with an intense passion. We can still mention it to him and laugh about it. It made the visit a lot more memorable than other European palaces, at least.

Author elsslots
#3 | Posted: 5 May 2019 08:54 
I visited Versailles during the exhibition by Jeff Koons in 2008.

I did when there was an exhibition by Takashi Murakami. This also lightened the place up a lot.

Author Solivagant
#4 | Posted: 5 May 2019 09:24 | Edited by: Solivagant 

The examples of "exhibitions" of art at Versailles by Koons and Murakami are interesting - and I guess I can see myself in the reaction of Parsons's dad to having his "once in a lifetime" visit to Versailles "b.....ed" up by such "c....p"!!!
"Installation Art "is somewhat different however from an "exhibition". See -
These are supposed to be "site specific" - ie. designed for that location. Apparently this is what Gormley has done at Delos. They also "take over" the location in which they are installed and are intended to alter the visiting experience etc etc.

It appears that the creator of the Carcassonne "Installation", one Felice Varini, has "form" in this matter as he created a somewhat similar installation in Bellinzona back in 2001. Why waste a "Good idea" when you can re-use it again and again (Gormley does the same of course with his figures). It too consists of lines (red on this occasion) running along the outside of the WHS castles (Coincidentally I saw that too - but hadn't realised that it was by the same guy). See this.

Author elsslots
#5 | Posted: 5 May 2019 11:02 

Author nfmungard
#6 | Posted: 5 May 2019 14:43 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Pommery has regular art installations in their Champage Caves... I think you will find plenty of those.

Author Zoe
#7 | Posted: 5 May 2019 15:35 
Yeah I hate those, visited Saint-Savin and the entrance fee was basically the French movie, French explanations of the fresco makings and a whole floor of contemporary art totally unrelated to the site...

Author clyde
#8 | Posted: 13 Jul 2019 03:12 
Just been to a Steve McCurry photo exhibition in Palazzo Madama, Torino (Savoy)

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