"CAPELLA DANS LA CLAIRIÈRE" AND "L’ŒIL DE LA MÉMOIRE"
The Poiriers’ chapel is presented like architecture that has been unearthed by archaeologists. “During their reading, the archaeologists’ attention had been attracted by a site in the Grounds a long way from the Château, where they concentrated their search: a small clearing in the middle of wild lime trees in an area of the Domaine that was half abandoned. It is true that, if you went into the shapeless undergrowth, you could make out large fragments of white stone that had fallen onto the ground as if ripped apart, torn down according to a precise design. This was in keeping with the allusion made in the archives to the presence of a small building (chapel? oratory? hermitage?) that nobody had been able to find until then. Excavation work was undertaken, in spite of the harsh and misty winter of 2010, and 8 large steles, 3 metres high by 1 metre 40 wide by 20 cm thick, were freed from the earth and ivy, which were keeping them almost entirely hidden away. On the cleaned visible surface you could read a series of words, which when taken end-to-end seemed to form a sentence. In the middle of these remains, they also discovered a large stone brain covered with a thin layer of gold. The archaeologists decided to stand the steles back up according to the position where they had fallen down, which made a sort of small structure (gazebo) referred to in the texts by the name CAPELLA. Ten or so metres away, covered by creepers and moss, buried under ivy, they uncovered a huge, marble monolithic block. An inscription that was barely legible, in tall antique letters, said: OCVLVS HISTORIAE. Once the block had been cleaned up, they were surprised to discover a gigantic eye looking at them, a look defying time, the remains of a cult, a culture, a forgotten memory. The look of a gigantic broken statue. Another Vanitas?”
"LIEU DE RÊVE"
Located facing the Loire, at the foot of the slope, the black granite armchair encourages silence, meditation and contemplation. On the back of the chair, the golden engraving of an elliptical labyrinth, which is reminiscent of a brain, gives it a sacred quality. Like the fragment of some buried remains rising out of the earth, it is the memory of a fictitious archaeology, unveiled by Anne and Patrick Poirier. Playing on the idea of being both architects and archaeologists, with this block of stone the artistic couple mark the place where Chaumont’s first church might have been built.
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.