Grandeur and decadence. Two opposite terms which nevertheless co-exist within wrecked buildings, melancholically attaching to their former glory.
In these old palaces, villas, manors or castles, derelict and of cyclopean dimensions, the first feeling is wonder.
Often at the origin of architectural prowess and know-how of yesteryear, entering in these prestigious buildings is a journey that leaves no one indifferent. The visitor is carried away in an artistic whirlwind and is often struck by the Stendhal syndrome at each discovered room.
Architecture, which is the major art of conceiving spaces and constructing buildings, by respecting empirical or scientific rules of construction, as well as aesthetic concepts, classical or new, often seeks to please and seduce by beauty.
However, defining beauty is not an easy task, because of the diversity of experiences to which this term can respond. We readily evoke the "beauty" of a landscape or a sunset, also of a person or even an animal, as much as of an ancient statue, an architecture or a masterpiece of painting - whether it is the Mona Lisa or a self-portrait of Rembrandt. The occasions to meet beauty seem thus multiple: it would be alternatively in nature, in the bodies or in works of art. This diversity of the "supports" of beauty obviously makes it difficult to elaborate a unified conception.
These fascinating, evocative and elegant buildings constitute one of the possible encounters with beauty.
According to Diderot, "it is necessary to ruin a palace to make it an object of interest". Indeed, our imaginary gets carried away and the soul of the place wakes up. The beauty emerges, unexpected, giving back to this heritage of the past its glory.
However, the spectator, at the sight of the state of dilapidation and thus of this tragedy wonders about the incomprehension caused by its neglect. Although often colored and contrasted by the gushing light, these buildings are indeed decadent. They testify to a real paradigm shift. Refusing to be subsumed under an ideal of pure legibility, beauty in architecture here seems to proceed rather from the invocation of mystery, the unmentionable or the secret.
So how justify this curious epidemic of faded palaces?
In the past, in order to testify to their belonging, their wealth and their power, men have built architectural follies. So much so that today, it is difficult to imagine life in these moribund residences.
One of the most convincing examples are the Assyrian kings who wanted to mark their time with an original imprint. That is why the gargantuan palaces they built were meant to show the personal glory and power of the ruler by their size and magnificence. Each of them, in order to distinguish themselves from their predecessors, tried to build their own palace.
This series is our testimony of mythical places, once sparkling and having marked their time now fallen into disrepair.