Bussy St Martin, Domaine de Rentilly

Photographic prints

In Overlook, multiple reproductions of old black and white photographs of former occupants of the Domaine de Rentilly have been hung upside down in the castle’s kitchen. This 180° turn directly inspired by the February 2011- Return to Marienbad installation presented at the same time in another of the castle’s rooms – and the exhibition’s offbeat framework don’t impose the photos as historical documents or decorations left carelessly in the castle, but rather as intriguing elements meant to draw the visitor’s attention. The kitchen, chosen as the presentation space, and the subject of the photographs (notably depicting the former caretaker of the property and his two sons on a snowy patio) allude to emblematic elements from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. In reference to the themes of the film, the photographs encourage the castle’s propensity to transmit certain painful aspects of its past by making them radiate and seep from the building’s walls.

As with other works in this series, this reference likens the Château de Rentilly to Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel, whose hallway-filled structure has occasionally been compared to the setting of Last Year at Marienbad. This imaginary superposition of the exhibition’s setting and that of The Shining draws the visitor into a kind of temporal labyrinth anchored in the time when the photographs were taken, when the Domaine was inhabited by the Menier family (1890-1988). Over the course of the visit, it brings into focus possible troubles connected to this time in the property’s history.

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Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet