Le Plateau

Prisoners of the Sun, Concrete Erudition 2

A Corey McCorkle production at the Désert de Retz


Antichambre (works by Anna Barham, Louidgi Beltrame, Pablo Bronstein, Isabelle Cornaro, Hubert Duprat, Dan Graham & Robin Hurst, Zoe Leonard, Edgardo Navarro, Céleste Olalquiaga, Jean Painlevé, Hubert Robert, Félicien Rops)


Games room


Curator: Guillaume Désanges


Prisoners of the Sun is the second show in the Concrete Erudition programme devised by Guillaume Désanges, an associate curator invited to come up with an exhibition series at Le Plateau. This cycle questions the links between art and knowledge, in its varying forms, based on certain contemporary activities. Carrying on from the exhibition The Planet of Signs (Le Plateau, autumn 2009), this time it is the architecture, and its utopian, sensual and political extensions, which is the exhibition’s thread.


Prisoners of the Sun is organized around a specific production, commissioned from the American artist Corey McCorkle. After an initial training as an architect, this artist has been developing, in particular, a line of research which questions the links between utopia, modernism, functionalism and ornamentation. Nurturing an interest in deserted structures, traces of bankrupt utopias and the time-related interferences proposed by certain monuments, the artist re-places these concrete factors within a network of references where there is a mixture of symbolism, poetry, hallucinatory rituals and mystical afflatus.


Corey McCorkle decided to focus his research project on the Retz Wilderness – Désert de Retz -, a garden of 18th century architectural “follies” situated near the town of Chambourcy, 15 miles west of Paris. Conceived like an architecture and landscape microcosm – with a Greek temple, an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese pagoda, a Tartar tent … – this unique and astonishing place gave rise to numerous artistic creations (Colette, Jacques Prévert, Abel Gance, the Surrealists). In it the artist develops a new work incorporating film and sculpture, for presentation at Le Plateau.


Based on the themes and challenges of this artist’s work, and within a logic of spreading influence and intuitive associations in its relation to this project, Prisoners of the Sun will also include an exhibition within the exhibition, titled Antichambre, with a set that juggles with artificial, decorative and ornamental styles. From a precise as well as heterogeneous selection of contemporary art works mixed with elements related to art history (with works by Anna Barham, Louidgi Beltrame, Pablo Bronstein, Isabelle Cornaro, Hubert Duprat, Dan Graham & Robin Hurst, Zoe Leonard, Céleste Olalquiaga,Edgardo Navarro, Jean Painlevé, Hubert Robert, Félicien Rops, etc.), it offers a poetic walk around objects that echo modernity in its relation to naturalism, dream, decadence, ornamentation and utopia.


Adopting the same approach, Prisoners of the sun includes a cinema with a continuous programme of films related to the exhibition, and a games room showing old and modern games to do with lessons in construction lessons and the development of logic, whose shapes can be decorative and “proto-minimalist”, alike.



Guillaume Désanges is anart critic, curator, and co-director of Work Method, an independent production unit. He writes for Trouble magazine and for Exit Express and Exit Book magazines(Madrid).

For the period 2009-2011, he will be an associate curator for the Frac Ile-de-France / Le Plateau, Paris.


Corey McCorkle, born in 1969, lives and works in New-York. His work is regularly exhibited in galleries in New-York, Los Angeles, and London. He had a solo exhibition in the Bern Kunsthalle in 2005 and participated in numerous group shows, notably Traces du Sacré at the Centre Pompidou and the 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York, as well as Intouchable, l’idéal transparence at the Villa Arson, Nice, in 2006.


Slide show