AHAE: “Fenêtre sur l’extraordinaire” at the Versailles Palace

Standing at the window of his studio, South Korean artist Ahae daydreams. Over a three-year period, this wealthy businessman and inventor has captured the pageant of nature as it reveals itself before his eyes: the flight of a grey heron, the setting sun, rain on the pond or a cloud floating by. In short, the seasons as they unfold in the light of the primordial world. His son, Keith Yoo, driven by “tender obstinacy”—as Catherine Pégard notes—provides continuity to his father’s project by showing the works in leading museums throughout the world. After having shown at the Louvre (“I thought nothing could match this exhibition”) the Orangerie at the Versailles Palace has opened its doors to this enlightened benefactor. “A tremendous privilege,” enthusiastically states Keith Yoo who, like many people of his caliber, has a weakness: being enamored of a France that perhaps exists only in appearance and which some insist on wanting to have disappear. “I love its atmosphere,” he says, speaking of Paris, where he decided to move.

« Keith Yoo’s weak point is being in love with a France which may only exist in appearance.  »

He lives in Saint-Cloud and will soon be moving to the 16th arrondissement: the homeless are not the only ones who need to be taken in. At the entrance to the park, umbrellas with his signature are given out. Regal music accompanies the fountain show. Keith Yoo shakes the hands of businessmen, of habitués of these events, people from all over the world, from the mother of Carla Bruni to the ambassadors of the UK, Italy and Austria. The latter, Ursula Plassnik, is a former Minister of Foreign Affairs. “I’m the Austrian,” she would say when she first arrived in Paris. But since no one found her quip amusing, she corrected herself. “I’m Austrian,” she says now. “I mean, not German.” He loves this city, where you can meet a girl reading a book as she walks along the street, and he is sorry to see the indifference the French have about things that don’t affect them. Mr. Yoo chose chef: Jean-Louis Nomicos. He has good taste. At the end of the meal, the fireworks celebrated the union between the old world and the new one. When he returns to Seoul, Keith Yoo will show his father the video of the evening and Ahae will be happy as a king.