Robert Polidori: Versailles


30 October 2014 — 10 January 2015

Les Derniers Jours de Napoleon, Versailles, 2005

Versailles, La Meridienne, Marie-Antoinette Bed, 2007

Galerie des Batailles, (148)ANR.02.002, Aile du Midi - 1er Etage, Versailles, 1985

Cabinet Interieur de Mme Adelaide #2, (56C)CCE.01.058, Corps Central - RdC, Versailles, 1986

Déambulatoire de la Chapelle Royale, Tribune Nord, ANR.02.018, Aile du Nord - 1er Etage, Versailles, 2005

Salon des Glaces, Grand Trianon, Versailles, 1988

Bassins des Saisons, L’Hiver ou Saturne by Giarardon, Versailles, 1985

Cabinet des Beautees, Chateau de Versailles, 1985

Vue of Parterre du Midi, #1, Versailles, 2007

Salle d’Introduction aux Galeries Historiques, (2)ANR.01.002, Salle du XVII, AIle du Nord - RdC, Versailles, 1985

Salle la création de l’académie de peinture et de sculpture, (11)ANR.01.011, Salles du XVII, AIle du Nord - RdC, Versailles, 2007

Galerie de Pierre, Chateau de Versailles, 1985

Press Release

Galerie Edwynn Houk is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by renowned photographer Robert Polidori (Canadian, b. 1951) from his iconic Château de Versailles series. This is the artist’s first exhibition at Galerie Edwynn Houk in Zürich and will feature a selection of his most distinguishing images from this series.

Polidori’s Versailles photographs document the decadence, eccentricity, and ultimate transformation of the palace from monarchical symbol and heart of the French Ancien Régime to a modern museum. A project that has spanned over thirty years, Polidori began photographing the Château to illustrate a comprehensive architectural history of the palace written by Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos. The images range from grand, dramatic views of the galeries, halles and salons, to more intimate photographs that focus on particular paintings, furnishings, and room details.

Exploring issues of historical revisionism through restoration, Polidori’s work in Versailles emphasizes architectural detail and the majesty of 18th Century Rococo and Baroque design. Concurrently, Polidori suggests the ambiguity involved in any restoration project: what happens to a room or structure when the old is made new? Polidori underlines a temporal paradox: an 18th Century palace restored by a modern society attempting to imagine itself as it once was. What remains is a visual citation of both past and present, a powerful invocation of history and modernity within the confines of a single frame. With a highly skilled approach to technique, Robert Polidori’s signature use of a large-format view camera allows for a level of clarity and focus that is rare in contemporary photography.

Born in 1951 in Montreal, Robert Polidori is considered one of the world’s leading architectural photographers. Polidori is the author of several books and monographs, including Parcours Muséologique Revisité (Steidl 2009), a three volume tome that chronicles virtually all of his Versailles work. Other publications include After the Flood (Steidl 2006), Metropolis (Metropolis 2004), Havana (Steidl 2001), Versailles (Place des Victoires 1999). Recent museum exhibitions include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Biblioteque National, Paris. Polidori lives and works in Los Angeles.