3 – 31 May 2018
In 1775, The Count of Artois accepted Queen Marie-Antoinette’s challenge to build a small chateau – the Chateau de Bagatelle – in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, within three months. The Count won the bet and the residence was completed in only sixty-three days. Described as a ‘folly’, the Chateau was renowned for its romantic scenery and exquisite rose garden within the formal gardens – the Parc de Bagatelle – that surrounded it.
The gardens later expanded and trees planted since the end of the 18th century include oak, pine, sequoia and cedar. Numerous statues, a Chinese pagoda, small bridges and grottoes adorn the landscape. Roses, irises, perennials, clematises, peonies are in abundance throughout the area that is now one of Paris’ four botanical gardens.
In 1983, the Parc de Bagatelle, inspired Jean-Paul Guerlain’s scent ‘La Jardin Bagatelle’ when he envisioned ‘an irresistible melody for a fulfilled and spontaneous woman in love’.
Similarly, artist Rashid Al Khalifa’s recent series ‘Les Roses de Bagatelle’, inspired by the roses of the landscape, call to mind the scent of the garden’s flora combined with a sense of nostalgia for the purity of young love.
Amongst the flowers in the Parc de Bagatelle, Rashid Al Khalifa chose the ‘rose’ in a spirit of optimism. The most fragrant and considered as the queen of flowers, the rose, throughout history has been a symbol of love and beauty and has inspired great men and women, poets and painters.
Les Roses de Bagatelle is Rashid’s personal meditation on the beauty and fragrance of the rose, its natural form and metaphor.
In three dimensions, each of the aluminium blossoms is welded in various patterns on the matte enameled convex-shaped aluminium service. The blooms are repetitious, rhythmic and even singular in square, linear and circular compositions – like a contemporary version of some historical application of the rose as a symbol of the crown, power, love and religion.
Colour is forever the heart of Rashid’s works. In Les Roses de Bagatelle, he employs a monochromatic hue in crepe pink as the foundation for the pictorial structure. The shade, in between bland and sweet, suggests a delicate yet sensual feel of a contemporary paradise. The resulting artworks become elegant, Minimalist environments. Every work is perfectly balanced, carefully produced and self-contained although the symmetry experienced from viewing the elements from one point changes as the configuration varies when viewed from different angles due to the convex shape of the service.
The collection in Les Roses de Bagatelle series has a quiet presence and creates stillness in their environment which demands closer observation.
As a prolific artist, Rashid Al Khalifa is motivated continuously and deliberately by a desire to try his hand at a new style of work, which comes as no real surprise since he answers only to his own creative vision. Nonetheless, the consistent strengths of his creations ensure that Les Roses de Bagatelle is both an elegant and fascinating display of fine works of art that are allusive and poetic.