I remember my first meeting with the son of the Korean artist Ahae during the 2012 Louvre exhibition inauguration in the Jardin des Tuileries, at the invitation of Henri Loyrette. Mr. Yoo used simple words, filled with admiration, to describe his father’s unique work. He spoke about his own mission to reveal that work to people today who—caught up in the frenzy of modern-day life—do not have the time to stop and discover the world from a single window.
“Extraordinary in the ordinary,” Henri Loyrette said with the acuity of language that over the past twelve years has accompanied the strength of his choices made at the helm of the Louvre Museum.
From the same window, from dawn to dusk, every day of the year, Ahae embraces the world, and it is the infinitely small that provides the immensity of the landscape he offers us. And here, these seemingly insignificant details paint an entire fresco. Behind the modesty of the photographer’s gesture lies the extreme sophistication of poetic thought. The instant that blends with eternity.
This year, I invited Ahae to present a new set of photographs taken from the same window at the Palace of Versailles. The scenography designed by Guy Oliver at the Orangerie allows us to observe the unexpected beauty of Ahae’s world as the hours and seasons pass: “The extraordinary within the ordinary.”
This year, history calls on us to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. Ahae’s exhibition takes place—with a certain irony that is not unknown to him—during this year we are dedicating to the gardener of the King. Indeed, Ahae embodies his antithesis. While Le Nôtre dominates nature and molds it to suit the King’s will, Ahae lets himself be swept up into it, in all of its forms. On the other side of the world, from his own room, Ahae illustrates the words of Marcel Proust: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
And I have the pleasure of inviting you on this voyage. I would like to thank Keith Yoo for making it possible. Magical.