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Fondation Carmignac – Californian x Mediterranean

I flew half way around the world, from California to the French Riviera. Why?? You’d be very right to ask. The weather is just as great, the food a bit better but the same Le Grand Bleu experience awaits.

Miquel Barceló, Alycastre (2018)

If you must know, I went there because of…soccer!

Along the way I explored many museums and countless foundations. One of them is Fondation Carmignac, on the island of Porquerolles.

Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles

A corporate foundation created in 2000 by Edouard Carmignac, it boasts a colorful contemporary art collection and supports the Photojournalism Award which rewards an investigative reportage each year.

Nested on the island of Porquerolles, the vistas are breathtaking. Enjoyed during an artful treasure hunt in the gardens where monumental site-specific sculpture installations are scattered, Mediterranean landscapes also come round from the gallery space, perfectly framed by ribbon windows à la Le Corbusier.

I found it impossible to resist the azur of the Mediterranean sky set against the delicate greens of shrubs and pines.

Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles

Porquerolles being an island, the water theme is omnipresent in both the architecture of the Fondation space and the artworks in the collection. The movie The Big Blue comes to mind often, particularly as the open skylight of the main gallery is basically topped by a shallow pool of water.

Water reflections grace the gallery space walls, shimmering as I explored the collection walking barefoot as if holding my breath under water (yes, you read well, this is an art pilgrimage you are required to take bare feet!). And with an exhibition titled Sea of Desire, the mood is clearly set.

Ed Ruscha, Sea of Desire (2018)

The collection is strong, with Roy Lichtenstein and Gerhard Richter well represented. Here are a few of my favorite highlights.

Living in California, I am more than partial to Ed Ruscha so seeing three of his works getting prime spots was a real treat.

Ed Ruscha, The Study of Friction and Wear on Mating Surfaces (1983)

Ed Ruscha, Level as a Level (2002)

With a definite eye for photography, I was thrilled to also discover new artists such as Dinh Q. Lê.

Last but not least, the Gardens.

Jean Denant, La Traversée / The Crossing

With works from Ugo Rondinone and Jaume Plensa, I was already won over.

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Yet Jeppe Hein’s Path of Emotions won the popular vote as it was the one my kids and I spent the most time interacting with.

Fondation Carmignac is an art island within an island on the Mediterranean Sea. Hold your breath and dive into its art: you’ll be surprised how you don’t need to come up for air for some time.

© 2018 Ingrid Westlake

All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.

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