Le Donjon de rêves was a an exhibition held in 2012 at the Chateau de Vincennes (Paris). With a rich history linked to the royal power and more widely to the history of France, the Chateau de Vincennes have had several assignments throughout its life. This impressive fortress tower including a hight of more than fifty meters and a wall built by Charles V in the fourteenth century was a prison from the sixteenth century. As such, the tower have housed famous prisoners like Fouquet, Diderot, the Marquis de Sade and Mirabeau. The recent donation of twelve engravings of Piranesi entitled “Imaginary Prisons” at Vincennes was an opportunity for the Centre of National Monuments to give carte blanche to the artist François Schuiten whose cartoons were strongly influenced by Piranesi. François Schuiten, through a dreamlike journey into the monument, will enable visitors to confront the reality of the dungeon and its artistic representations to consider how its architectural structure - well, drawbridge, endless staircase … - is embodied in the works of Piranesi and Schuiten.
The exhibition is also an opportunity to go beyond the structure of the dungeon to question its fantasy dimension. Beyond the historical component, it carries within it a romantic hand, widely used in paintings, literature and film. Place of secrecy, of confinement, the mystery, the inaccessible, even darkness …
Three centuries later, François Schuiten confronts his vision of the tower to that of Piranesi and initiate a dialogue with his work. This meeting is not very surprising. In Volume III of “Obscure Cities” Schuiten did he not call the maintainer of the Tower Giovanni Batista? A name which is none other than … by Piranesi.
This exhibition is presented under “Monuments and Imaginary,” curated by Christian Caujolle.