Philippe Quesne

The Garden of Delights


French director and visual artist Philippe Quesne, renowned for his visually arresting and iconoclastic performances, has repeatedly fascinated Greek audiences. Following his dystopian yet also gently scathing Farm Fatale, which captivated the Peiraios 260 visitors last year and was centred around climate change, this year he takes over the Odeon of Herodes Atticus stage with an Athens Epidaurus Festival co-production inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Renaissance painting The Garden of Earthly Delights (ca 1500).

The central panel of this Biblical, quasi-psychedelic – if viewed through a modern perspective – triptych depicts a panorama of unusual figures engaged in inconceivable erotic acts against the backdrop of a fantastical natural landscape. Meanwhile, the Garden of Eden and the punishments of Hell are depicted on the left and right panel respectively. Much like Bosch, Quesne conjures an allegorical feast for the eyes, a dreamlike scenery walking a fine line between utopia and dystopia, bliss and lust, the enigmatic and the grotesque, reminiscent of an amusement park. Eternal pleasure may, after all, be the punishment.

Quesne’s phantasmagoria will be adapted by the artist for the Odeon in a performance that shall bring the Athens Festival programme to a triumphant close in the beginning of August.