oeuvre-tapis “Odyssée”

Oeuvre-tapis “Odyssée”, 2021
Escalier Murat , Palais de l’Elysée

by artist Nathalie Junod Ponsard
in collaboration with Mobilier National

Photos 1, 2 & 3 © Thibaut Chapotot
Photos 4, 5 & cover © Guillaume Thomas

Text by Nathalie Junod Ponsard

Embodying the excellence of French decorative arts, «Odyssée», a work by Nathalie Junod Ponsard in partnership with the Mobilier National, now embellishes the well-renowned Murat staircase in the Presidential residence’s Hall of Honour.

Creating a new sensorium
At the heart of my works or light installations, I carry out a plan where colour is subject to variations depending on two parameters, a chromatique one and an electric one. These allow various levels of intensity and diffuse new energies on the site. They induce sensations that vary and evolve. People, successively, are attracted to my work, experience a sort of floating feeling and finally remain amazed. I devise a fictitious immersion by modifying in different manners the vision from the retina, as well as sensations. In trying to match my work to a place, the experience of a given space, seen in a new luminous and chromatic setting, becomes a physical and aesthetic one.

Upon entering the Palais de l’Élysée, the first staircase is like a transition from night to day: the purple-blue, very dark and intense, turns gradually into a light cyan blue, one notices as they move along. The landing welcomes us with a swaying move rendered by an ultramarine that merges into a red.

Then the top two flights evolve from blue to orange for one and from blue to orange for the other, going through subtle shades, announcing the astonishing transformation of these opposite and contrasting colours in one spatial continuum.

Life is movement and energie
Receptors in our eyes are very sensitive to blues. 800 million years ago, the human’s first retina could perceive only blue, then yellow. Much later the eye caught the reds, lined with blue.`

The complementary colour to gold is dark blue. Therefore, aiming at including the gold palms of the railing in the work, the gradual shades of blues serve as enhancers for them. Reciprocally, the bright and luminous colour of the palms adorns the carpet throughout the staircase, demonstrating how the golden frames of Renaissance paintings were created to reflect the light on the painted canvas. Here, each little palm lights up the unique colour of each step.

In Odyssée, this pictorial program, the chromatic evolutions flow smoothly, introducing thought on colour. They act as new energies in a polychromatic immersion. The work allows us to be as if walking on light and its blended chromatic variations.