05.04.2014 King’s vegetable Garden / Plastique Danse Flore Festival, Versailles
Supported by Program Prototype I – Fondation de l’Abbaye de Royaumont
I was interested in symbolic borders and decided to climb the two golden gates enclosing the royal garden. The Plastic Dance Flore festival was founded in 2007 and aspires to create a dialogue between contemporary art and the historical heritage of the Kings Palace. The King’s Garden at Versailles was built at the request of Louis XIV. Across the kitchen garden is the royal path leading to the Castle. Every day the King would go along this way and visit his garden. I have chosen both metal gates as the site of the performance. The one opening onto the street was build first during the tiem of the monarchy. It is today a busy road with a traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing. The top of it has sharp pointed stakes. The other metal gate facing it and leading to the castle is covered by gold leaf. My interest was to be at the edge of a semi-public space and public space, and relied also in the symbolism of those grand gates. My plan was to climb both gates, the monarchic and the royal. Each time departing from outside the garden.During my preparation, people spontaneously did react : I got into trouble with the police and the people in charge of the garden, and had to face harsh altercations from a few pedestrians. A man with a dog screaming that I was cracked and should remember the son of Romy Scheinder who died impaled on the pointed stake. Two women from inside saying that they thought for a minute reliving the revolution. Another man with its dog insulting me and the police arresting me. After those minor incidents I was forbidden to climb the gate on the street’s side but allowed to climb the golden one. I asked for a discussion and ended up with the directors of Versailles’s garden, of the school for landscape, and of the festival : three fathers! Their arguments were as stubborn as their walls : A. reputation, B. security, C. we don’t have to argument as we make the rules, therefore, you obey. It appeared that the city wanted to open the way and make public the king’s garden while the garden’s people want to protect the rarity and diversity of the flora. The people of both, the festival and the site, fearing conflicts and discussions, do not want my “artistic” proposition to be misunderstood. Consequently I had to readjust. How to behave in the context of a willingful & non-established yet festival? Preferring agreement rather than confrontation?