Open to different artistic currents, the Carmignac collection includes the work of strong personalities who, beyond their individual aesthetic vision, share a perspective on art and the world that is different, and an intuition and audacity that borders on provocation. As such, the collection relates closely to the personality of our President. 

Guided by an open-mindedness and passion for new ideas, Edouard Carmignac first turned his attention to American pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, with their energy and irreverence. The portrait of Mao, a powerful image made up of vibrant, radiating brushstrokes contrasts with an icy portrait of Lenin, with its impenetrable painted surface. Today the two paintings find themselves together in our President’s office, an impertinent choice of hanging that echoes the provocative artist who painted these dictators in fluorescent colours and compared shopping malls to museums.

This irreverence can even be seen in our President’s passion for the Downtown New York art scene that he frequented at the start of the 1980s. In the excitement of that legendary period, he developed a passion for the work of Keith Haring, Francesco Clemente and Jean-Michel Basquiat, at a time when only a few galleries were prepared to show their work.  The empathy between Edouard Carmignac and Basquiat is well known today. Several paintings and a portrait by the young, then unknown artist provide evidence of his raw, moving and broken dialogue on the relationship between art and the street, the need to be rid of preconceptions, to take a strong stand, to break taboos...

Remaining faithful to the pioneering spirit and values of innovation that prompted its creation, the Carmignac collection has grown over the years, as has the Carmignac company.  On display in the company’s offices, alongside its employees, the artwork todays represents values that Edouard Carmignac upholds, those of openness, freedom and concern for the state of the world. Photography, photojournalism in particular, keeps us alert. The constant search for strong artistic personalities has led to the support for free and independent creation, in situations where freedom of expression is not encouraged. It is therefore natural that the foundation should look today to a new generation of artists from emerging countries who express a clear and powerful vision of their own world.

The approach may be a direct interrogation of the human condition, an appeal, such as the work by Asian artists Dinh Q. Le, Lean Seckon and Li Tian-Bing, the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat or the Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki. It may also be through the use of irony, as with artist Marcos Lopez, whose pop latino work demystifies the icons and the pitfalls of consumer society. He often expresses a sense of wonder and a refusal to conform or be disenchanted, as seen also in the intricate work of Miguel Rothschild. Thirty years after its beginnings, the Carmignac collection retains this youthful view that is currently alive in South America, Asia and the East.

It is the undeniable power and poetry of these works of art that form the heart of the Fondation Carmignac’s installation project on the island of Porquerolles, where artistic creation and the work of nature will soon come together to greet the public.