Museums at Night 2012

Saturday 19 may 2012

From 7pm onwards, in the grounds, visitors will be able to see the video installation The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps–1999-2002), by the Polish artist Katarzyna Kozyra. Projected onto seven screens, the installation draws on the ballet of the same name choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1913 with music composed by Igor Stravinsky. The artist decided to use the final minutes of the ballet, when the young woman chosen as a sacrifice to the God of Spring performs the Sacred Dance.

The first circle of three screens shows solos by dancers performing Nijinsky’s choreography for the girl chosen to dance until her death. A second circle of four screens, surrounding the first one, shows “the corps de ballet”, choreographed movements for the wise elders watching the sacrifice. Spectators can walk between the two circles. The dancers here are not the young athletes who worked for Nijinsky, but former dancers, aged between 60 and 90; naked men and women whose bodies are marked by the ravages of time, whose genitals are covered with big artificial genitals to upset Male/Female principles on which the ballet’s pagan, primitive universe is founded. Unable to execute Nijinsky’s highly complex choreography, the dancers were filmed lying down. The editing of the short, jerky sequences smoothes the movements out, leaving the dancers suspended in a black and white space. Reinterpreted by Katarzyna Kozyra, The Rite of Spring regains its pagan trance-like dimension. Midway between dance and performance art, it conveys the sense of bodily limits, bodily transformations beyond questions of genre, beauty and ideal forms.

The Rite of Spring belongs to the collections of Zacheta National Gallery of Art.

Katarzyna Kozyra, The Rite of Spring

On entering an illuminated garden, visitors will discover Rodin’s home and experience a feeling of closeness with the artist. The estate located on the heights of Meudon overlooks the Seine River and comprises two buildings. The Villa des Brillants, a modest stone and brick house built in Louis XIII style, was purchased at auction by Auguste Rodin in 1895. Its renovation in 1997, based on period photographs, recalls the environment in which the sculptor lived and worked. The museum below the residence was opened in 1948 and contains numerous plasters, including those representing the different stages of Rodin’s monumental works: from The Gates of Hell to the Burghers of Calais group, as well as several studies and figures for Balzac or the monuments to Victor Hugo, Puvis de Chavanne and Whistler. Visitors today will thus discover in tandem the atmosphere of an artist’s studio and home at the turn of the 19th century. In the garden, the statue of The Thinker stands over the tomb of Rodin and Rose Beuret, the sculptor’s lifelong companion and lady of the house.


Nuit des musées au Musée Rodin Meudon