Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photographs of Versailles at Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Versailles, Salles d'Afrique, Portrait of Lousie XVI
Photo by Robert Polidori

Breathtaking images of Versailles by Robert Polidori are on display (and for sale) at Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto until November 22nd.

Polidori is known for his highly detailed photographs of places such as Chernobyl, Havana and New Orleans that capture the "juxtapositions of the contemporary and the historical, beauty and decay". For Polidori, rooms represent "receptables of meaning" and show the layers of history and the effects of time. He has had exhibitions of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the MOMA in New York, and the Bibliotheque National in Paris.

This Canadian photographer has photographed Versailles for twenty-five years and has published several books of his photography.

I went to the gallery today and was utterly mesmerized. The exquisite photographs were larger than life and seemed to be even more beautiful than the actual place. I was in Versailles two summers ago and his photos seemed to be more vivid and more colourful than I remember. Perhaps it is the absence of hordes of tourists that make the photos seem more vivid than real life.

Polidori takes his photographs using a large format camera and spends hours with Photoshop to create this heightened sense of reality. And while his artist statement seemed to be about capturing moments of time embedded in the rooms of Versailles, all I could see was exquisite beauty. If only I had US $26,000 to buy one of the photos. Unfortunately I'm going to have to settle on buying his book about Versailles which will come out in January 2008 (

Robert Polidori, Versailles: Transitional States
October 23 - November 22, 2008
Nicholas Metivier Gallery
451 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario