After a considerable win protesting against and forcing major institutions to cut ties with the Sackler family for their involvement in the opioid crisis, US artist Nan Goldin is now turning to the revolutionary Women’s March on Versailles of 1789 for her latest project on show at the 17th-century château outside Paris.
Goldin, along with UK photographer Martin Parr, Dutch artist Viviane Sassen, and Paris-based Dove Allouche, are part of a major group exhibition titled Versailles-Visible/Invisible running until October 20. For the first time ever, curators of the palace commissioned new works from the high profile artists, all of which are on display at the Trianon residence of the royal palace.
Goldin’s poignant images show the classical statues of goddesses and nymphs found at the palace gardens. Visitors are also invited underground for a tour that features large-scale photographs taken of the subterranean tunnels by Goldin, thereby exploring “the labyrinth of underground hydraulic systems feeding the fountains”, according to a statement.
Goldin has also collaborated with the Lebanese-French architect Hala Wardé to create a trail that traces the Women’s March when thousands of Parisian women embarked on a 12 mile journey to Versailles in October of 1789. The trail runs through the Petit Train palace and sets the scene of when the protesters demanded that the ruling family at the time, King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, address food shortages and growing poverty in France.
Goldin also organised reading an accompanying soundtrack that includes texts from the French playwright Olympe de Gouges’ 1791 treatise, The Declaration of Rights of Women and the Female Citizen, created by Soundwalk Collective along with actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Isabelle Huppert.
Other artists’ works at the exhibition include Parr, whose trademark satirical images of visitors to the Palace are on display in the Pavillon frais section of the Petit Trianon.
“From her studious examination of Versailles’s statuary and the history of the palace and its occupants, she builds a narrative incorporating images of modern teenagers,” a statement says of Nan Goldin’s monumental work. Artists like Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Hiroshi Sugimoto have all shown works at the Versailles under its contemporary art program led by Catherine Pégard.
The show is taking place from May 14 to October 20 of this year.