It was by uncovering this hollow building called “the Ice-House” that the archaeologists discovered a gigantic eye in white “arabescato” marble lying at the bottom of the huge funnel-shaped hole, as if it had fallen from the sky. A huge eye looking at space, time, the sky, capable of seeing the infinity of time, the infinity of the sky, the infinity of space … You can imagine the amazement of a walker in the spring, when the snow piled up at the bottom of the cone began to melt, slowly uncovering this white look fixed on the sky, this eye of memory and forgetfulness, eye of History, of the violence of History, hurled down there with unheard of violence...
Anne and Patrick POIRIER
Anne Poirier was born on 31 March 1941 in Marseilles and Patrick Poirier on 5 May 1942 in Nantes. They now live at Lourmarin in Vaucluse. After studying at the Paris Decorative Arts School, they were resident artists at the Villa Médicis from 1967 to 1972. Right from the start of their time there, they decided to work together and to pool their ideas and sensitivities.
Anne and Patrick Poirier are true travellers through memory, which they consider to be the basis of all intelligence between human beings and societies. They explore sites and remains from ancient Greek, Roman, Mayan and Indian civilisations and bring them back to life through models and reduced scale reconstitutions. They are sculptors, architects and archaeologists, all at the same time. They are interested in the psyche and continuously strive to understand its structures through a variety of metaphors.
Their installations of models of ruined archaeological sites, the gigantic collapsed sculptures, the herbariums and prints, and the photographs establish paradoxical fictions, which have won these artists international recognition since the start of the 1970s. In 1984, they carried out a public commission for the Suchères service area on the Clermont-Ferrand - Saint-Etienne motorway, “The Great Black Column”. This monumental column, collapsed on the ground (100 metres long by 15 metres high) is in fact an anti-monument, a vast Vanity, which denounces the derisive nature of powers and the fragility of empires. This was followed by numerous anti-monuments spread all over the world, in the form of proud monuments reduced to a ruined state: in 1992, another broken column in Toronto, Canada, “Memory of the Future”, in Prato, Italy, a dislocated column was frozen as it fell: in 1996, they were invited by the Research Institute of the Jean-Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles to organise an exhibition which they called “The Shadow of Gradiva”, where they blended their personal creations with the Museum’s collections, an exhibition where they highlighted their interest in archaeology as a metaphor of psychoanalysis. In 2007, they exhibited “Reflections of the Soul” at the Alice Pauli Gallery in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Using mythological tales as an inspiration and by exploring real or imaginary cities, the work they create together is a metaphor for time and memory. Past and future are closely intertwined, giving us a picture of the fragility of cultures and human beings.