The initial shock of Eva Jospin’s installation in the Louvre’s Cour Carrée (April 12 – August 28, 2016) comes from its display. To discover its high reliefs, the visitor has to pass through several consecutive concentric enclosures to reach the center. First, the classical buildings of the Cour Carrée; next, a circular basin made of stone containing stagnant greenish water; then, set in this basin, a decagonal pavilion reflecting the Louvre facade on its walls – echo and mirror. (The glass Pyramid is not visible because of the obtuse angle towards it; obfuscating the Pyramid – another “grafted” structure – is definitely not fortuitous.)
Then, a dark corridor curls up inside the pavilion, leading the visitor through an ogival door to a viewing platform with a guardrail, from which s/he can finally discover the panoramic wall that is the actual work of art. Panorama is a mural sculpture made out of cardboard, a jungle of trees, branches, roots, in horizontal layers and vertical surges. This builds on Eva Jospin’s obsession with forests, already showing in several of her previous installations of cinematographic trompe-l’œil.
All of this might be repetitive and boring, but its complex display and relation to space elicit interest. Of course, the historical commentary (we’re at the Louvre, after all) sets out to inscribe the artwork in the history of panoramas (there might be a nod to Daguerre in creating a “darkroom”). I also pick up a distant echo of Michal Rovner’s two houses in the neighboring Cour Napoléon, and I very much like Ph. Dagen’s analogy with Courbet and Duchamp.
Above all, I feel this complex position and this progression from one space to the other are inviting us towards a sacred, exclusive space, a Holy of Holies. Everything here hangs on forward movement and contrasts: from the outside towards the inside, from the sky to the cave, from light to darkness, mineral to vegetal, reflection to absorption, openness to confinement, monumentality to intimacy, from the slick and polished to the tactile and rough, from culture towards nature. To my eyes, therein lies the crucial interest of Panorama.
Edit, a few days later: the difference between Eva Jospin in the Cour Carrée and JR on the Pyramid is the difference between art and marketing, artists and entertainers.
Photos 1 & 2 courtesy noirmontartproduction. Photos 3 & 4 by Lunettes Rouges.
Original publication date by Lunettes Rouges: May 21, 2016.
Translation by Lucas Faugère