The locals call them ‘spaces for art’. They are massive, interactive, community-based art exhibitions, out in the open air of rural France. There are many thousands of these giant installations dotted around the country, most of them – like the one I visited yesterday in a village I could not now with any conviction pick from a line-up of two – are comprised of various, separate themed shows, or ‘rooms’. Each room represents – if I might offer my thoughts – a reflection of us, we, the viewer(s), a cross-section of who we are – right now at this exact moment in history – as individuals. Warts and all. Viewed en masse, however, the work becomes a canvas on which the entire human condition is stripped bare and dissected like a vole full of tumours. All of human life is there: the glory, the community spirit, the degradation.
Cyrus has a season ticket, available free to residents, and can visit his local space whenever he likes, interacting with the artworks, adding to and taking away from as he sees fit. All visitors are actively encouraged to contribute in this way. This is what makes this movement of living art – where everyone with an imagination and a love of artistic experimentation can leave their mark – such a bold and unique innovation. With the success of these ‘places of art’, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Europe catches on.
I took a few photos.
Some challenging stuff there, I’m sure you’ll agree.
So we hung around for a while, soaking up the culture, making a few amendments here and there, then we were about to get going when Cyrus spotted a beautiful thing that he imagined he needed. The space-curate told him that if he could fish it out with the plastic hook on the end of a stretch of strengthened canvas, then he could have it. Cyrus had a go…
Unfortunately there were a couple of pieces missing.
Fortunately the space-curate spotted them and fished them out of the heart of the installation…
And then the beautiful thing was complete and we transported it carefully back to Cyrus’s house where it took pride of place in the garage-barn, and where it will remain for anything up to nine months, when it will be taken back to the gallery and given another chance…
Or will it?
None of us know for sure.
Anything could happen.