27 June 2014
Land Art puts on a show in Sancy
Discover works of art whilst rambling in the hills, in the midst of nature’s beauty…this is the concept behind the “Horizons Arts Nature Festival” in Sancy, Auvergne. When mountains meet modern art, land art makes a statement in Sancy. Don’t miss this exclusively European event this summer!
Imagine a mixture of monumental and some more intimate pieces but all dispersed throughout the mountains of Auvergne. And there you have the concept behind an unbelievable phenomenon that blends contemporary art and the outdoors.
This year, the “Horizons Art Nature Festival” in Sancy celebrates its 8th year. Over the years, this event has become essential for artists, designers and architects alike from around the world who long to exhibit their creations as part of this unique festival, with 270 budding hopefuls applying this year. Only ten were selected and given the chance to design, in situ, their creations that hikers will be able to discover on their strolls throughout the summer. Each piece must resonate with the chosen site. And the beauty of the event also resides in its ephemerality, because come September, every work must be dismantled. Or else they will disappear naturally along with the good weather…as Mother Nature reclaims her territory. Forever embedded in the minds of the walkers who stumbled across them, will be the memory of these romantic installations…
Some creations can only be found after several hours of intense hiking. Others are visible after several minutes. Below is a selection that the Plume voyage Team has carefully made especially for you, comprising of three of the eleven installations on display this year. You have until 28th September 2014 to catch a glimpse of these masterpieces. Maps, available online or in tourist offices, make it easy for you to follow the trail that takes you from piece to piece. And entry is completely free.
The wolf returns to Auvergne! On 26th January 2013, there were sightings of a wolf in the Massif of Sancy. Multimedia artist Thomas Monin sought to build on this piece of local trivia that crystallises passions in the mountains. Thus, he proposes a monumental work that depicts the silhouette of a wolf in exactly the same location as the real canine was spotted. Comprising of solid metallic rods painted in white, this trellis shows the wolf in a sitting position, like a proud, serene sphinx. The viewer can see through it, as if suggesting that the wolf is not so much an intruder, but part of the landscape. Furthermore, the paint is phosphorescent and the outline of this giant wolf also glows in the dark! In short, Thomas Monin uses this sculpture as evidence, proving to us that the wolf is still very much present in Auvergne. That he blends into the landscape – though not always. But it must not frighten those hikers who can only see its white ghost… “Evidence” by Thomas Monin is on display at Beaune-le-Froid on Mount Margelet, near to the famous Croix-Morand pass.
Here is a work of art that perfectly captures the philosophy of the “Horizons Arts Nature” Festival: establishing links between Sancy locals and international artists. As it happens, Taiwanese artist Yuhsin U Chang, who lives and works in Parisian suburb Montrouge, used coarse wool sourced from the region’s recent sheep shearing. With this local raw material, she concocted a woollen “cloud”, measuring at 4-metres high, 6-metres long and 3-metres wide! In total, this ‘cloud’ appears to float at the top of a tower weighing 1500kg…Half animal, half cloud, there is no doubt that this piece will be one of the most poetic this year. It evokes an extraordinary form that can be interpreted by the individual, much like clouds in the sky. An interactive, hollow work, the public will be able to enter and explore the inside. Strange and alien, stationed at the top of a crater of a former volcano, this woollen eruption will make an impact on everyone. “Cloud” by Yuhsin U Chang is displayed at Picherande, Puy de Chareire.
This creation falls in with one of the traditions of the “Horizons Arts Nature” Festival. Made up of earth and vegetable matter, this piece won’t be dismantled at the end of the festival. Instead, it will be preserved in lieu and will be eroded away by wind and rain. 100% biodegradable, the work is built from compressed earth on-site. “Cry of the Earth” comprises of a 3-metre hill and a total area of 150m, the shape of the mound reminding the viewer of a volcanic landscape. The installation shows visitors what lays within the infinitely small, through two sensitive devices that record sound activity and the production of heat. Based on the principle that bacterium grows off the energy present in the earth, an oak cornet broadcasts and reveals the sound activity of organic entities that inhabit this mud hut. From smoke to sound, here is a mini volcano and a spectacular view for a few lucky hikers!
“Cry of the Earth” by Gaëtan Robillard and Isabelle Daéron is on display at Murol.
The “Horizons Arts Nature” Festival is all a wonderful tale of encounters between artists and the people of Sancy. Eight years ago, when the first edition of the festival was held, the inhabitants of the surrounding small villages were rather sceptical of these apparently eccentric artists who installed quirky, monumental works in their countryside. These days, those same farmers and countrymen are proud to lend a hand to those sweet oddballs, who land in local fields with their zany sculptures!
In Sancy magic works. Having taken part in the festival, the artists tell of their emotional experience, as if they have been touched by the support of inhabitants as they toil away to bring their work to life- all this, whilst on top of a mountain or on the banks of a river! Today Auvergne natives go as far to say that because of “Horizons Arts Nature Festival” they will never goe to another museum because artwork come to them and their mountains. These artists work outdoors, in often very challenging conditions; last year, when it snowed up until June, the festival became a real human adventure. “We worked in mud, we ate in mud and we slept in mud, but it was such an incredible experience, to be able to create in nature’s crux”, assured Pierre-Yves Péré and James Bouquard, who gave life to a buron made out of earth at the 2013 festival, whose journey you can follow on this website www.collectifderive.blogspot.fr/