Work in Progress
Parcourir les couloirs et les allées du Château de Versailles aujourd’hui relève du merveilleux. Nous sommes hors du temps et loin de la société actuelle. Des salles aux plafonds si hauts que l’on se sent tout petit, damiers récurrents au sol, draperies, miroirs, labyrinthes de couloirs, fontaines d’animaux fantastiques, arbustes taillés en forme de triangle ou de boule, têtes de statues perchées en haut de colonne et encerclées de verdure, escaliers démesurés qui ne mènent à rien … nous sommes dans l’univers du conte, dans Alice au Pays des Merveilles.
En mettant en regard des photographies les mots mêmes de Lewis Carroll, tels qu’il les a écrits au XIXème siècle, je propose à tous de parcourir ce lieu avec son âme d’enfant, en le voyant non pas tel qu’il est mais tel que l’imaginaire sans limite de l’enfance le façonne - en provoquant des associations d’idées, jouant avec la réalité, en révélant l'abstraction du lieu, son absurdité, semant le trouble sur l’identité du personnage principal en quête de soi. C’est l’occasion également de relire un texte du XIXème siècle d’une grande drôlerie et d’une grande modernité.
Walking the corridors and alleys of the Palace of Versailles today is like making a trip to Wonderland. Rooms with ceilings so high that you feel very small, recurring checkerboards on the ground, draperies, mirrors, labyrinths of corridors, fountains of fantastic animals, shrubs cut in the shape of a triangle or a ball, heads of statues perched at the top column and surrounded by greenery, excessive stairs that lead to nothing ... we are in the world of Alice in Wonderland.
Putting these photographs in front of the very words of Lewis Carroll, as he wrote them in the 19th century, I suggest that everyone explores this place with his child's soul, seeing it not as it is but as the unbounded imagination of childhood shapes it - by provoking associations of ideas, playing with reality, revealing the abstraction of the place, its absurdity, showing confusion over the identity of the main character in search of herself. It’s also an opportunity to reread a 19th century text of great humor and modernity.
Here and there she saw maps and pictures. Please Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?
She came upon a curtain she had not noticed before.
"What a curious feeling, I must be shutting up like a telescope." She was now only ten inches high.
"I wish I hadn't cried so much ! Being drowned in my own tears ! That will be a queer thing, to be sure ! " The pool was getting quite crowded with the birds and animals that had fallen into it. The whole party swam to the shore.
In a little while she again heard a little pattering of footsteps in the distance. She looked up eagerly, half hoping that the Mouse had changed her mind and was coming back to finish her story.
It was the White Rabbit. "Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now !"
Her eyes immediatly met those of a large blue caterpillar, that was sitting on the top with his arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah.
For some minutes it puffed away without speaking. "Repeat : You are Old Father William" said the caterpillar.
"Your are old Father William, as I mentioned before, and have grown uncommonly fat ; ...Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose - what made you so awfully clever?"
All she could see, when she looked down, was an immense length of neck, which seemed to rise like a stalk out of a sea of green leaves that lay far below her. "What can all that green stuff be?"
She had not gone much farther before she came in sight of the house of the March Hare. "Take some more tea" the March Hare said.
Once more she found herself in the long hall.
They very soon came upon a Gryphon (If you don't know what a Gryphon is, look at the picture.) The Gryphon sat up.
The King turned pale. "Consider your verdict" he said to the jury in a low trembling voice.