Next Planet


Potlatch #4 13 July 1954

Although their builders are gone, a few disturbing pyramids resist the efforts of travel agencies to render them banal.

The postman Cheval, working every night of his life, built his inexplicable Ideal Palace in his garden in Hauterive, the first example of an architecture of disorientation.

In this baroque palace, which detourns the forms of certain exotic monuments and stone vegetation, one can only lose oneself. Its influence will soon be immense. The life-work of a single incredibly obstinate man cannot, of course, be appreciated in itself, as most visitors think, but instead reveals a strange and unarticulated passion.

Struck by the same desire, Louis II of Bavaria built, at great expense in the mountain forests of his kingdom, hallucinatory artificial castles, before disappearing in shallow waters.

The underground river that was his theater and the plaster statues in his gardens intimate a project as absolute as it was tragic.

There are plenty of reasons for riffraff psychiatrists to intervene and for paternalistic intellectuals to launch a new-found "naivete" with page upon page of nonsense.

But the naivete is theirs. Ferdinand Cheval and Louis of Bavaria built the castles that they wanted to build, in accordance with a new human condition.



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