Gardens of Subversion

There is a map at Akademie Schloss Solitude of the old Rococo garden which used to exist in the forest 250 years ago when Schloss Solitude was built. When this map falls into the hands of artists, something new comes to light. Previously we saw how Japanese artist Hanae Utamura invited a chess player to move her figures across the grid; now Greek artist Petros Touloudis has built a virtual replica of the garden, the Gardens of Subversion, a half-digital-half-analog exhibition display.

Sculpture made by Petros Touloudis in collaboration with Beate Wagner. Solitude's exhibition space Hirschgang

There is a party nearby with colors and music, but no people in sight.
How to speak about kindness in the house of an anarchist?
Why lift a stone from the ground and put it in an exhibition?

Everyone is in the room, but nobody is watching the blue carpet in the middle, and the stone installation on it.
She had picked the stones up from the soil and after, placed them here. She is here too.

They are stones from the abyss, photographed once by a photographer diver, for a magazine. How is this possible? I am looking at that photo in the magazine; I come closer … Those are the same stones, on the bright carpet, identical colors and shapes; no doubt.

By standing still, memories are protected. Just a minute ago, a dog kindly showed me not to play with him, dog games. He didn’t say a word about it, though, naturally, he could speak like a human.

This is not an experiment now. Just people, standing around the installation, speculating on their extinction.

Is that it?

Lazy eyes hovering over scattered carbon.

Embracing solitude, stretching time.

That could be it.


(Text by Petros Touloudis)

The project is under the title Gardens of Subversion, which refers to the book Les Chateaux de la Subversion, written by the French poet and essayist Annie Le Brun. Les Chateaux de la Subversion is an essay on the Gothic novel of the eighteenth century.

Annie Le Brun has shown how in the shadow of the »Century of Enlightenment« the Gothic novel gave voice to Sadean subversion and pre-revolutionary prohibitions, brandishing the unsaid and the »unthought« of the cultivated class:

»The black castle is the crystallization of desires, anguishes, and questions … In the eighteenth century, at a time when philosophers shied away from the questions that arose with unbelief, the Gothic novel opened up a space for them, and it was within this space that for the first time, in a dramatic way, the confrontation between subject and object, the unique and the many, the lyrical and the mechanical were played out. In other words, the whole problematic of modernity.«

Screenshots of the virtual gardens, developed by Andreas Diktyopoulos
The Rococo garden map


The exhibition Gardens of Subversion, with the installation in the Hirschgang corridor of the Solitude castle, does not attempt to imply any solutions nor does it criticize the failures of modernity. It is a gesture that rather attempts to reflect the subconscious fear, caused by the neo-liberal logic of the twenty-first century. The work is focusing on a tendency to detect a direction of meaning through the contingency of speculation and innovation of the artistic production. Thus, the virtual space of the baroque gardens of Solitude is presented in parallel with the exhibition in Hirschgang as an online platform/world/museum/project space with the potential of hosting various future artistic projects and events.

(Text by Petros Touloudis)

The virtual gardens were developed by Andreas Diktyopoulos
The sculpture was made by Petros Touloudis in collaboration with Beate Wagner