Fanciful Builders

A dialogue between Robert Doisneau’s newly- discovered photographs of the Ideal Palace and the works of sculptor Simone Fattal.

By Postman Cheval's Ideal Palace

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

Creation of an Exhibition

Fanciful Builders is an exhibition that was created in 2020, during the first national lockdown in France. In this time, behind the Ideal Palace, a series of photographs taken by Robert Doisneau in the1950s were rediscovered. Until then, they had never been exhibited.

Untitled (c.1970) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

A few weeks later, Robert Doisneau's daughters discovered a new series of unseen photographs. This time, the photographs were in color, and dated from the 1970s. 

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

A Dialogue

In its commitment to putting together dialogues, the Ideal Palace conversely chose Doisneau's photographs, Simone Fattal's sculptures, which show, following in the steps of Postman Cheval, a way of raising mythical creatures from the earth. 

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

There are also common themes. Here, the sculptor's Three Warriors, coming together with the Three Giants of the famous Postman, iimmortalized through the lense of Robert Doisneau.

Simone Fattal

Drawing on her personal story, Lebanese-American artist, Simone Fattal, has resuscitated a mythical past with sculptures interpreting archaic forms. In 2019, she unveiled her retrospective at the MoMA PS1, alongside a monumental sculpture in the National Museum of Qatar.

Robert Doisneau

Born in 1912, and passing away in 1994 in Montrouge, Doisneau is one the most popular French photographers from the post-war period. His photograph archives contain approximately 450,000 photographs. He had even organised them himself, by theme, to make it easier to search through them.

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

In Doisneau's photographs, you can always find the craftsman with untamed tenacity for the composition, which meticulously indexes their daily life. His interest in the edifice travels through the precision of his photos.

Framing, light, aperture: it's all tightly controlled. Between a historical memoir, and an admirative testimony, these photos are an ode to passing time, and to the beauty that remains.

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (1953/1953) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

The Lion

The art of creating entire worlds is an attribute shared by Postman Cheval and Simone Fattal, which calls for their creations to be brought together. The most obvious exampleof the parallels between their respective artwork can certainly be found in their mythological inspiration. Postman Cheval's Lion is here.

Lion Guarding the Entrance (2010/2010) by Simone FattalPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

... and here we have The Lion, guarding the entrance, by Simone Fattal.
 

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

Simone Fattal's love for archeology and history make memories the center of her reflection. She manipulates the earth, giving it a form while leaving it this raw aspect.

The characters that come to life under her fingers have an elementary allure, as though made from thick skin.  They appear as pillars, depicting the "resistance of menagainst conflicts, and their capacity to remain standing."

Exhibition "Bâtisseurs chimériques" (2020/2020) by Robert DoisneauPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

Robert Doisneau: "There are people who I spend a lot of time with, those who create raw art. When you talk to them, you realize that what is important, is what happens at night …"

Fallen Figure (2011/2011) by Simone FattalPostman Cheval's Ideal Palace

Simone Fattal: "The first time that I heard about the Ideal Palace was when I was a child, in Lebanon, but I never would have dreamt that I would one day have the chance to exhibit my work together with the genius of Postman Cheval."

Credits: Story

L’exposition Bâtisseurs chimériques a été réalisée en collaboration avec l’Atelier Robert Doisneau et la galerie Balice Hertling à Paris.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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