In late April, I left for a week-long bike trip through the south of France. During this trip, we encountered the Chateau de Lacoste, the ruined castle of Marquis de Sade. Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, philosopher, and writer. He was famous for his ideas on sexuality, and the words “sadism” and “sadist” are derived from his last name. The Chateau de Lacoste was built in the 11th century and changed hands many times since its construction. Most recently, it was purchased by fashion mogul Pierre Cardin in 2001.
Under Cardin’s ownership, Chateau de Lacoste is used to house concerts, art exhibitions, and lavish parties. To facilitate these events, the castle has undergone extensive renovations. These renovations included the installation of modern sculptures surrounding the castle. There is an enormous pair of outstretched arms and the caged head of de Sade, who spent most of his life in prison. Additionally, there is person who seems to be growing out of a tree, and the metal profile of an unidentified man framing the castle’s front doorway. I really loved these modern sculptures—there was something playful about each one, and they created an incredible juxtaposition with the crumbling castle and its dark history.