La Littorale, Contemporary Art Biennial in Anglet
The 7th edition of the International Contemporary Art Biennial Anglet – Côte Basque, La Littorale, is held in Anglet, France, from August 24th to November 4th, 2018. The curator of this edition, Richard Leydier, has imagined an itinerary around “La Chambre d’Amour”, the last beach of Anglet before the lighthouse of Biarritz. It unveils artworks by eleven artists, each exploring a facet of love or of its expression: Madeleine Berkhemer, Jérémy Demester, Tadashi Kawamata, Grout/Mazéas, Bernhard Martin, Laure Mary-Couégnias, Jay Nelson & Rachel Kaye, Stéphane Pencréac’h, Remed, Lionel Scoccimarro and Anne Wenzel.
Atop the Love Tower built for the occasion by Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata, spectators can gaze at the Atlantic, beaches and rocks of the Chambre d’Amour. Facing them, the immensity, at times luminous and serene, at times tormented and stormy, is ever changing. Love and ocean: an easy but effective metaphor. This 13-foot-high wooden tower, crowned with a large deck (to observe, or to encounter love…) is located just above a cave named “La Chambre d’amour” (the love chamber) after an 18th century Basque legend – the story of two lovers led to a tragic end by thwarted love. The legend became the underlying thread of this edition imagined by Richard Leydier.
Artist Lionel Scoccimarro blocks the access and visibility of this legendary cave with his Love Palissade: a palisade made of light wood (80’s surf shop aesthetic) onto which are attached red neon lights (timeless sex shop aesthetic) listing surfing spots with evocative names: “Praia do amor”, “Petites mamelles”, “Baie des sirens”, “Pleasure Point”, “Les culs nus” … Scoccimarro plays with the idea of a lovers’ meeting place, secret or discreet, and with the ambivalence of the palisade, which all together protects and signals the entrance of the cave.
The artworks come one after the other along the itinerary: proposals that evoke feminity, ideals and seduction (Love is the air by Stéphane Pencréac’h; Quando vedrete moi caro amore by Madeleine Berkhemer), artwork-furniture, calling for closeness (Is it you looking for me by Bernhard Martin; A structure for sharing by Jay Nelson & Rachel Kaye), sculptures that celebrate the multiplicity of the feelings of love (June by Jérémy Demester; La Copula by Remed; Invalid Icon (Anglet) by Anne Wenzel). German artist Anne Wenzel created an earthen reinterpretation of La Pieta, beheaded, compassionate figure. From the trail, one can only see the back of La Pieta. She is facing the ocean, just like Friedrich’s character. The gaze follows that of the sculpture and is carried toward the horizon.
The itinerary is punctuated by a series of paintings by Laure Mary-Couégnias, installed directly on the ground, representing animals posing in a lush and flowery environment. Each painting explores a moment of a love story, from vigorous passion to peaceful union, from first encounter to separation: an invitation to explore one’s own story.
For this 7th edition of the Anglet Biennial, Richard Leydier gathers works of human scale, in a space limited to a focal point – La Chambre d’Amour – thus offering a more intimate edition than the previous ones. In addition to the question of Love, Richard Leydier also pays homage to the “surfing spirit” of the Basque coast, with artworks that take responsibility for the reference they make (Lionel Scoccimarro or Grout/Mazéas) and that face the ocean, which is best vantage point is off the coast, on a surf board…
Through November 4th, 2018
Outdoor, on the site of la Chambre d’Amour, Anglet, France
Everyday, all day