03 march 2017
A disco ball at the villa Noailles
Texte et Photographies de la villa Noailles en situation par Françoise Spiekermeier
A disco ball has been hooked to the highest branch of the pine tree. At nightfall, the exhibition is taking on its full dimension. The ultra-modern villa built in the 1920s by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for the Count and the Countess of Noailles, art collectors, is transformed for the occasion into an open-air night club. Through the magic of the technical device, thousands of silver points run on the walls and the grass: the architecture by Robert Mallet-Stevens fades away to turn into a nightclub: a place of emancipation and of ” A sensory exacerbation which erases all reference to the material world.
The Palace, the Bains Douches, chez Régine, the Queens in Paris, the Zoom in Bandol, the Limelight in New York …… Their names travel in the collective unconscious like ghost ships in the sidereal night. Their memory take them to the infinity that these places of pleasure and emancipation dreamed of giving: an endless party in an abolished architecture, where music, experimentation, interior experience sets the space to invest, beyond walls, doors and windows. It is a new vocabulary that the architects had to invent to create the first discotheques in the 60s.
In these places, the new relations between men and women were improvised, a new relationship freed from its own body. According to Pol Esteve, researcher and architect at the Architecture Association in London, “the common thread between all these places, whatever the context, is the use of technology: light, sound, psychotropics, The combination of the three affecting the perception of space and producing a new space. “. These technologies, developed in university or army laboratories, were then placed in the public domain straight in the nightclubs and allowed the emergence of dance culture in the late 1960s. (Piper – from the name of the famous Piper Club in Rome in 1965 – to New York disco boxes and tunnel workshops for rave parties), this does not affect the type of spatial experience of dance culture. Everything happens in the head … and in the body!
The stroboscopic light, for example, developed around 1940 in university laboratories, was found out to modify the brain functions: stimulating the alpha waves, which even increase when we close our eyes and cease to think or when we experience the sensation of pleasure – stroboscopes were installed in the discotheques in the 60s.
Inside the villa, on the first floor, the squash, the swimming pool and the gallery welcome photos, mock-ups, installations. In the gymnasium, the architect Nicolas Dorval Bory has defined the space of the ephemeral discotheque that will close with the exhibition, but will run every Friday from 6 pm to 8 pm for a before-party !!
On the ground floor, as part of an annual proposal on the remarkable architectures from the Var, and in addition to the first, another exhibition presents La Batterie, a dancing place designed and built by the architect Pierre Barbe in 1933 in Roquebrune-sur-Argens. Photographed by Vincent Flouret, the oval building is located on a point ending the beach of Val d’Esquières. His plan imitates the oval of the bay. One of its walls is translucent thanks to the Nevada glass bricks of Saint-Gobain, the same ones used two years earlier by Pierre Chareau for the facades of his famous Maison de Verre in Paris, located at 31 rue Saint Guillaume in the 7th arrondissement.
Exhibition The Nightclub from February 19th to March 19th, 2017
Curators: Audrey Teichmann, Benjamin Lafore, Sébastien Martinez-Barat.
Two bilingual and colored catalogs are published by the Villa Noailles association on the occasion of the exhibitions: La Boîte de Nuit and La Batterie, Pierre Barbe.
Available at Villa Noailles (also by correspondence) and in a network of bookshops in France and Europe