In the Historic Grounds, François Méchain rolls out a multitude of ladders on one single tree. Hanging a few metres above the ground, they swing gently in the wind and, with the tree, form a living structure that evolves with the passing seasons.
A reference to the novel by Italo Calvino, The Baron in the Trees, whose hero took refuge amongst the trees to escape from the stresses of everyday life, L’Arbre aux Échelles (The Tree with Ladders) by François Méchain is a poetic invitation to look at the world from another point of view, from further away, from higher up.
François Méchain is a sculptor and photographer, who was born in 1948 in Varaize, Charente.
After studying at the National Fine Arts Institute in Bourges, he taught photography at the Fine Arts Institute in Saint-Etienne.
François Méchain works right at the heart of nature in the tradition of land art. He creates ephemeral sculptures in situ by continuing to be attentive to the history of the place, to the photographic viewpoint, to the interpretation of the installation and to what it will become. Through his lens he fixes the moments in time of his landscape sculptures, which are born of his passion for things to do with the land he travels through, criss-crosses and examines during his many journeys.
“My work is a core sample taken from the depths of the world. The difficulty of my work really involves getting the right distance. Remember that my sculptures are also made for my camera’s viewfinder, so that it can see them. I’ve always wanted to cloud the issues. People have never known how to classify me: photographer, sculptor, sculptor for photography, photographer using his laboratory to remodel light as he would do with earth, I like this area of uncertainty”. Extract from the collected work “François Méchain, l’Exercice des choses” 2002.
He died in February 2019.