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The Ideal Palace

Last year I traveled, in France and abroad.

I crossed the planet to meet tourists who were photographing landscapes and buildings with their phones that they had seen in books, in films, or simply on Google in order to prepare for their trip. It made me think of the Mona Lisa at the Louvres, which everyone rushes to take a bad photo of, behind a plate of glass reflecting the crowd. The Mona Lisa that you can have as a postcard all over Paris, or in any library around the world.

I wondered if these same people took the time to really observe it, to capture the light from the horizons on the Indian Ocean, to understand a half smile, a mist in the distance, the roundness of a scroll of wood.

Why travel so many miles to take a bad photo?


Yet everything was so beautiful.


I found myself in August, somewhat by chance, at the Ideal Palace of Postman Cheval . I didn't know his story. A simple postman, having traveled miles every morning, on foot to deliver the mail. Throughout his life he would have taken as many steps as if he had traveled around the world. But he never left his Drôme Provençale, his village.

He distributed letters and sometimes black and white postcards, telling about Egyptian pyramids, Greek amphorae, Indonesian temples, African elephants... He observed these cards.

He looked at these images. He dreamed, he traveled like this.

And in front of his house, he built with his own hands a palace where all his exotic influences mingle, all his distributed postcards. He never took a plane or a boat, he never crossed a border, but before his eyes the whole world came.


Today, we realize that the world is before our eyes, in our coat pockets, under a small screen. Today, we say to ourselves that we need to fly less, travel locally so as not to pollute more.

I find the work of Facteur Cheval admirable and exemplary, I find it resolutely contemporary: what if we had to relearn how to dream of travel, to imagine it? What if the journey could be more internal?


I then wanted to take pieces of wax and re-appropriate the material, model it, work on it. I wanted to travel from home to Paris and also invent my ideal Palace .


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