Companions of our daydreams, stones, older than life, have exerted on humans a fascination of which each of us shares the experience: a collection, a launch, an admiring contemplation. Poets and artists of all periods of art have testified to the profound inflections that these silent presences have had on their creations.
The great surrealist writer Roger Caillois, some remarkable examples from whose collection of minerals constitute the prologue of this exhibition, was able to describe this insistent relationship: ‘more than once, I have thought that it was appropriate to look at stones as a kind of poem.’ Accompanied by the writer’s prose, the exhibition is the novel of this continuous frequentation that reveals how these minerals occupy a decisive position between the caprice of nature and the work of art.
The Stories of stones exhibition presented at the Villa Medici has benefited from loans from more than 70 institutions and brings together nearly 200 works, from the oldest terrestrial mineral dating back 4.4 billion years to the latest mineral created, Sentimentite, by the contemporary artist Agnieszka Kurant. The route unfolds in ten exhibition rooms and continues in the ancient reservoir of the Villa Medici, in the apartments of Cardinal Ferdinand de Medici and in the Balthus workshop.
Curators: Jean de Loisy & Sam Stourdzé