Roy Lichtenstein, Collage for Nude with Red Shirt. Collection Carmignac. © The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein New York, Adgap Paris 2017.

What do you get when you combine world-class contemporary art with an Arcadian haven in the Mediterranean? An invitation to shed conformity and preconceptions and sail off to a new horizon! The Villa Carmignac, the exhibition space opened to the public in June, was conceived on the Île de Porquerolles to showcase the 300 works of the Fondation Carmignac collection.

Why choose an island to display the works? Director Charles Carmignac explains: “In legends or initiatory journeys, the voyage to the island is always a dual crossing – both physical and psychological. It is about crossing over to the other side.” It is therefore fitting that the visit begins with a 15-minute crossing on a ferry from Giens.

Once on the island, the Provençal farmhouse blends into the idyllic landscape revealing 2,000 square metres of exhibition spaces. (Word to the wise: wear comfortable shoes.) Natural light filters through a ceiling filled with water, illuminating the spaces hidden beneath the surface. Outside, a selection of works inspired by the surroundings is dispersed over a 15-hectare sculpture garden conceived by landscape designer Louis Benech.

The intriguing inaugural exhibition Sea of Desire establishes a dialogue between icons such as Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, Koons, and Basquiat, and younger artists whose voices, not yet part of the canon, come across just as loud and clear.

Until November 4. www.fondationcarmignac.com

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From France Today magazine

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