Lionel Sabatté at Chambord: « Clandestine pollens »

After thirty other artists, including Djamel Tatah, Georges Rousse, Philippe Cognée and Lydie Arickx, the Domaine national de Chambord has invited Lionel Sabatté for a residency from 17 February and a major exhibition from 14 May to 17 September 2023. Living matter and the artist’s dialogue with Chambord are the threads woven throughout the exhibition. Consisting in 150 works, most of which have been created for the occasion, the exhibition is the artist’s most comprehensive to date.

Lionel Sabatté in residence at Chambord

Ever since it was built, Chambord embodies actual utopia: a work of art and genius that has not stopped revealing its countless secrets. Since 2011, the domain has become a laboratory for creation, welcoming writers and artists in residence. The château and the estate are consequently invigorated by original exhibitions. The spirit of the site feeds the inspiration and nourishes the work, offering a coherent dialogue between art and monument.

The dynamics of inclusion of contemporary art and the educational and cultural projects proposed through residences and exhibitions are part and parcel of a long-term cultural program. These initiatives at once provide a new regard of Chambord and its spaces, and contribute to cultural transmission in rural territory.

Lionel Sabatté concentrates his thought on amorphousness, on the corrosion of disparaged matter such as rust and dust. He restores life to material we have downgraded and dismissed. His intimate relationships with nature, animal and renaissance render evident the artist’s presence in the Domaine national de Chambord with its 5,540-hectare park, surrounded by a 32-kilometer wall, and sheltering a plethora of fauna and flora. After the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, the Maison rouge, the Museum d’Histoire naturelle, the Aquarium de Paris, the MAMC+ of Saint-Étienne and exhibitions in China and the United States, following his three months of residence Lionel Sabatté will present a large-scale project at the Domaine national de Chambord.

150 works of art settle in the château, the park and the French gardens

Composed of more than150 works, most of which have been conceived for the exhibition, this presentation will represent the artist’s largest monography to date. In the gardens and the domain, the artist will exhibit a spectacular set of “Bird fields”: 29 sculptures of various sizes installed in the French gardens, in front of the château, including a nine-meter giant according to the yardstick of the “Chambord meter”, which measures the arms of the Greek cross on which the plan of the monument is based.

At the heart of the park, peripheral to a magnificent pond, Lionel Sabatté will sculpt a large owl, from which the protected walker will have a bird’s eye view on the nest of the osprey and animals at hand. As a zoomorphic observatory, this work will remain in Chambord after the closing of the exhibition.

In the château

Lionel Sabatté will present a set of new paintings, some of them large-scale, in which the fluidity of the gesture, the chromatic range, and the evocative force represent a new step in his work. Woven from living matter, the paintings blend fluids and chemical reactions.

The artist has chosen to create a dialogue between his paintings and photographs of plants. His portraits of vegetation from the forest of Chambord, which were taken during the project’s preparation, will be crafted, like his paintings, with dust from the château. The ensuing portraits will represent a novel step on his creative pathway. In addition, visitors already familiar with the work of Lionel Sabatté will rediscover his “portraits of dust”, faces composed of dust collected in the château. In Chambord, he will propose a monumental presentation, bringing together 100 portraits on a large rail on one of the arms of the cross surrounding the double helix staircase inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. In another arm, five wolves made of dust, which created a sensation in 2011 in the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, will inhabit a site still frequented by their living models at the time of the French Revolution! The artist will also display new oxidized designs, presenting a bestiary completed by sculptures: not only the previously mentioned wolves, but also bees.

Around the exhibition

Meeting with Lionel Sabatté – 27 March 2023 at 6 P.M. École de la nature et du paysage of Blois / INSA Centre- Val de Loire, in the presence of Yannick Mercoyrol. The artist will address the elaboration and implications of his exhibition in Chambord, emphasizing the dialogue he wishes to pursue with the site (free of charge, on reservation :

Day of study at the Beaux-Arts de Paris – May 2023. Date and detailed program to be announced

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue on sale at the château gift shop and the online shop (

Come and discover the history of François I in the stables of the Marshal of Saxony!