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In Porquerolles, in the wake of Ulysses

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By Hélène Brunet-Rivaillon

Published today at 09:00

Created in 2000 by businessman Edouard Carmignac, the foundation of the same name has to its credit a photojournalism prize, a collection of contemporary art (more than 300 works from the 20e and XXIe centuries) as well as an exhibition space: the Villa Carmignac. This 2,000 square meter Mediterranean farmhouse, planted in the middle of a 15 hectare estate on the island of Porquerolles, in the Var, has been open to the public since 2018.

“My father discovered the island and the house about thirty years ago, says Charles Carmignac, who has led the foundation for five years. He was then invited to the wedding of the daughter of the former owner, the architect Henri Vidal, who married Jean Rochefort. » A crush on this place leads him to acquire it after the disappearance of the master of the place.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers On the island of Porquerolles, the treasure revealed by the Carmignacs

Before devoting himself to the paternal foundation, Charles Carmignac had a rich and eclectic career. A journalist, then a professional in microfinance, he was discovered by the general public thanks to the blues rock group Moriarty, of which he was the guitarist for nearly fifteen years.

“According to a legend, Ulysses would have landed on the shore of Porquerolles during a long journey and he would have struck down the Alycastre, a kind of sea dragon which sowed terror among the villagers. »Charles Carmignac

The idea of ​​an exhibition inspired by Ulysses came to him while exchanging postcards with his friend the writer Sylvain Tesson. The latter had stayed on the island before his sailing expedition in the footsteps of the mythological hero, for a documentary series broadcast on Arte in 2019. “According to a legend, Ulysses would have landed on the shore of Porquerolles during a long journey and he would have struck down the Alycastre, a kind of sea dragon which sowed terror among the villagers”, explains Charles Carmignac.

Francesco Stocchi, also curator of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, was chosen to imagine a labyrinthine museography paying homage to the odyssey of Ulysses. Seventy works are exhibited, including some from the Carmignac collection, as well as loans and productions. In particular, we come across works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Saint Phalle, Douglas Gordon, Roy Lichtenstein and Man Ray.

“The Dream of Ulysses”, Villa Carmignac, Porquerolles (Var), until October 16.

The good addresses of Charles Carmignac

“Located near the Sainte-Anne church, a few meters from the Auberge des Glycines and its pretty patio, the Villa Sainte-Anne is a 3-star hotel-restaurant with 25 rooms, owned by the Le Ber family, one of the dynasties of the island. The restaurant is amazing. You can sit on the small terrace overlooking the square, in the cool, under the tall eucalyptus trees. »

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