As its name indicates (‘Mons Majoris’, the highest hill), Montmajour has gently dominated Arles and the surrounding plains since the 10th century. At that time the plains were covered over with marshes well-stocked with fish, from which emerged the abbey on its island, the ‘Island of Montmajour’ where King René would gladly go to sample the monks’ catch. Both near and far, Montmajour has hence belonged for more than a thou- sand years to the Arles’ landscape. As for its interior spaces—the chapel, the cloister, etc.—they have reached us in all their purity and serenity, and in a state of particular elegance absolutely appropriate for welcoming the collections resulting from the twenty years of research carried out by the Centre International de Recherche sur le Verre et les Arts Plastiques (CIRVA) in Marseille. To accompany CIRVA’s pieces, we will highlight other works that will complement the stroll on this ‘Island of Montmajour’ and will help me recount and share my vision of the abbey, in turn a field for play and escapades, a space for rendezvous to do with love and work, a place of culture and meditation. Among other elements, there will be the staircase of Lang / Baumann recalling Jacob’s Ladder, photos, paintings, installations, and also liturgical clothing and objects, along with a few angel and ecclesiastical costumes that I designed in 2011 for the Cologne Opera. Lastly, I will give Gérard Traquandi carte blanche to fill the parlour—inac- cessible to the public until now—with his ‘résinotypes’, a 19th century photographic technique that he has rediscovered in order to print his Black on Black images.
The exhibition is presented at the Abbaye de Montmajour as a part of Marseille-Provence 2013.