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Fondation Carmignac has invited American curator and writer Chris Sharp to organise its forthcoming exhibition at Villa Carmignac on the island of Porquerolles, France.

Entitled La mer imaginaire (‘The imaginary sea’), this project will transform the villa into an underwater natural history museum, questioning the interactions between our civilization and the marine world. Visitors will dive into an aquatic ecosystem, navigating fascinating representations and marine creatures, both dreamy and threatening at once.

“La mer imaginaire will not only consider how artists are re-evaluating our relationship with nature, but also examine how nature, particularly the sea, sparks our imagination.” Chris Sharp

Conceived by American curator Chris Sharp, this exhibition was inspired as much by the architecture of the place – the spaces immersed under the villa’s ceiling filled with water – as iconic works from its collection: Bruce Nauman’s fountain with a hundred bronze fish, Miquel Barceló’s subaqueous fresco and Jeff Koons’s sculpture of a lobster perched on a chair, among others.

Several loans of works by French and international artists such as Henri Matisse, Gilles Aillaud, Mathieu Mercier or Gabriel Orozco, complete the ensemble along with new productions by Bianca Bondi, Miquel Barceló, Lin May Saeed, Kate Newby and Hubert Duprat, which were created for this occasion.

Thanks to a partnership with the Port-Cros National Park, the exhibition continues this year in the Fort Saint-Agathe and Villa Noailles with a series of photographs commissioned to Nicolas Floc’h. It explores the seabed between Porquerolles and its neighbouring islands.

With its ensemble of modern and contemporary works, The Imaginary Sea intends to celebrate the sea as a precious and evocative resource, swarming with known and unknown lives, opened to wondrous, strange and unexpected things, and whose immensity has always fed our imagination.

  • Yuji Agematsu
  • Gilles Aillaud
  • Jean-Marie Appriou
  • Miquel Barceló
  • Bianca Bondi
  • Cosima von Bonin
  • Leidy Churchman
  • Julien Discrit
  • Hubert Duprat
  • Nicolas Floc’h
  • Camille Henrot
  • Adam Higgins
  • David Horvitz
  • Allison Katz
  • Paul Klee
  • Yves Klein
  • Jeff Koons
  • Jennifer J. Lee
  • Jochen Lempert
  • Micha Laury
  • Dora Maar
  • Henri Matisse
  • Mathieu Mercier
  • Bruce Nauman
  • Kate Newby
  • Melik Ohanian
  • Alex Olson
  • Gabriel Orozco
  • Jean Painlevé
  • Bruno Pelassy
  • Lin May Saeed
  • Shimabuku
  • Michael E. Smith


Fondation Carmignac

Île de Porquerolles

La Courtade

83400 Hyères, France


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