When we arrive here...

When we arrive here..., 2024
In cooperation with architect Marián Ravasz and
contributions from
graphic designer Ľubica Segečová

Site-specific installation
Ceramics with porcelain engobe, steel

Cité internationale des arts - Montmartre; 15, rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France

A commission by the Cité internationale des arts in 2024
Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Counci

Photos by the authors


This sentence is an adaptation of a quote by Belgian artist and gardener Eline De Clercq on what constitutes what she calls a feminist garden: "When we arrive in the garden, the garden is already there..." It is about accepting the garden as soon as we enter it, involving a respectful approach to the place.

For Ilona Németh, the very principle of the garden lies in the acceptance of EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that already exists. This guiding principle has influenced all her reflections and her creative process for the development of this work, a site-specific installation commissioned by the Cité internationale des arts for its 60th anniversary. The installation evokes the history of the Montmartre site of the Cité internationale des arts while proposing a rehabilitation of the existing elements. The former guardrail of the terraced garden has been restored through the creation of a handrail, creating a new and safer space for visitors to the site. This artistic gesture subtly addresses the fragility of our ecosystem— both that of nature and of people—as well as our sense of anxiety in the face of the ecological urgency we are experiencing.

The handrail is made of porcelain to recall the past resources and uses of the site. The Radet Mill, now the famous Moulin de la Galette and the last remaining mill of the Butte Montmartre, was originally located on this parcel of land of the Cité internationale des arts. Besides milling wheat, it also ground alabaster for the Clignancourt porcelain factory (located at the bottom of Rue du Mont-Cenis) as well as flowers for the perfumery on Rue de l'Abreuvoir in the 19th century. The famous Radet Mill thus gives its name to the Villa that would be built on the land in 1870.