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Villa Medici : Sarah Moon : 140th anniversary of the Orient-Express


On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Orient-Express, Europe’s first transcontinental train, which has remained in everyone’s memory since its creation, the Orient Express endowment fund presents at the Villa Medici an anniversary tour of the exhibition exposed in 2021 during the Rencontres in Arles . Composed of archival photographs of the former Compagnie internationale des wagons-lits, this 2nd part invites the photographer Sarah Moon to take a contemporary look at the Orient-Express, a technical object that has become a cultural icon. The exhibition also retraces this mythical epic with a new section dedicated to the Rome-Express, commissioned in 1883 and covering the 1446 kilometers which separate Paris from Rome, along the French Riviera then those of the west and Italian Levant.

The exhibition presents unpublished work by the French photographer and director Sarah Moon produced as part of a creative aid from the Orient Express endowment fund. On different occasions, the artist has traveled in the tracks of the Orient Express, following its real and imaginary routes. In a 3-minute film and an edition in the form of a diary, she assembles personal images, photographs of the Jura mountains published in the book Fashion Eye Orient Express, and unpublished images taken in 2022 on the historic journey of the train, between Paris , Vienna and Budapest.


Born in 1941, Sarah Moon develops her personal work around three themes: the evanescence of beauty, the uncertainty and the passage of time. She has published numerous books, including Coïncidences, Circus, Le Fil rouge, Photopoche, or, which won the Nadar prize. She also made a long feature, Mississippi One (1990), several short films inspired by the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault, and documentary films on photography and photographers. In 2021, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris presented PasséPrésent, a retrospective of her work.

A literary commission from the writer Mathias Enard, former resident of the Villa and specialist of the Orient, completes the program with sound pieces produced with France Culture, which the general public will also be able to find on podcast.


Orient-Express & Cie, itinéraire d’un mythe moderne
March 17 mars – May 21, 2023
Académie de France à Rome – Villa Médicis
Viale della Trinità dei Monti, 1
00187, Rome

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