The French artist Eva Jospin will take over the Palace of Versailles outside Paris next summer (18 June-29 September), presenting a monumental embroidery measuring 105 metres long at the 17th-century residence. The 350 sq. m piece, entitled Chambre de Soie (A Room of One’s Own), will go on show in the Orangery building which was erected between 1684 and 1686.
The tapestry, which will wrap around the walls of the Orangery, was hand embroidered in India by craftsmen at the Chanakya workshop and the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai. Jospin says that the work is inspired by the Embroidery Room of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome and Virginia Woolf’s 1929 novel A Room of One’s Own. Jospin previously presented Chambre de Soie at the Dior Fall-Winter 2021/22 fashion show.
Jospin will add an extra panel for the Versailles exhibition, inspired by the garden grove, Apollo’s Baths Grove, which was redesigned at the end of the 18th century by the painter and landscape gardener Hubert Robert.
Previous contemporary shows at the historic residence have caused a stir. In 2008, Jeff Koons enflamed art historians with his display of works spread across some of Versailles’s most famous rooms. “Koons denied that the placement of his white marble Self-Portrait in the same room as portraits of Louis XIV and Louis XVI was a gesture of arrogance,” reported the New York Times. In 2015, anti-Semitic phrases were daubed on Anish Kapoor’s sculpture Dirty Corner.
In 2016, the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson transformed the palace with a series of dramatic installations, from a waterfall in the chateau’s Grand Canal to a veil of fine fog in the Bosquet de l’Etoile (Star Grove) in the palace gardens.
Meanwhile, the French audit court has criticised the decision by the French government to extend the contract of the president of Versailles, Catherine Pégard, aged 69. According to Le Monde, a report from the court states that “[continuing the tenure of] the president beyond the age limit—from March 2021—and beyond the third and last authorised mandate (from October 2022) is problematic”. The Palace of Versailles was contacted for comment.
A spokesperson for Versailles says: "Regarding the exceeding of the age limit of the president, the interim decision taken in February 2021 on the basis of article 7 (1984 law) allows the president to legally continue her duties. This interim [period] has continued regularly since then until the appointment of a new president... this is indeed an interim period as permitted and not a new mandate. It is therefore not accurate to indicate that the president would accumulate a greater number of mandates than expected."