Postcard from Chaumont-sur-Loire
The Loire River gently flows, down on its way to the estuary: a calm, smooth movement, only fragmented by the rocks and vegetation under the bridge connecting the towns of Onzain and Chaumont-sur-Loire. On this early July Monday, at the foot of the Chaumont castle, the banks of the river display a palette of greens, yellows, blacks, browns and grays. This is my first time at the Domaine.
I start with the Historical Park and its winding alleys leading me from one sculpture to the next. Among all the outdoor artwork, my favorite probably is Lieu de rêve, a sculpture by Anne and Patrick Poirier (2010). A few steps behind me stands Andy Goldsworthy’s “cairn”, specifically created for the 2016 artistic program. Since the first press release pictures, the artwork has slightly changed: the stump of the plane tree has started to grow and the base of the cairn is now surrounded by a vernal, sour green. It is impossible to remain indifferent to this part of the Domaine, which also includes Vincent Barré’s Chaos (2014), a sculpture composed of six cast iron elements which cut-out shapes redesign the landscape and reveal it in a new way. The binomial “sculpture nature” seems to have the most secretive bond with the mind. A silent communication is established, involving all senses. Sight, smell, hearing, touch… The entire body is solicited by a multitude of delicate, sometime imperceptible stimuli.
I continue my stroll in the Goualoup Park. This 24-acre site, designed by landscaper Louis Benech and inaugurated in 2012, also hosts outdoor sculptures, as well as perennial gardens reminiscent of China and Japan. This is probably the most moving part of the Domaine. It is soothing and restful. It takes you to another place and lets you set your own pace.
80 acres of nature and artistic creations including sculpture, landscape, gardens or photography.
For its eighth art season, the Historical Park and the Goualoup Park host new works by Andy Goldsworhty, Giuseppe Penone, El Anatsui, Marc Couturier, Cai Guo-Qiang and Yamou
The castle and its annexes (Stables, Hayloft Galleries, Bee Barn) have been transformed into new spaces for contemporary art. They offer photography exhibitions on landscape and nature (Andy Goldsworthy, Jean-Baptiste Huynh, Luzia Simons, Davide Quayola and Han Sungpil), a video installation (Davide Quayola) and in situ interventions such as the twelve gorgeous stain glass panels by Sarkis (originally seventy-two) which take over the abandoned spaces of the castle, or the mysterious Momento fecundo, by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira.
For the past twenty-five years, the Festival International des Jardins (the International Garden Festival) creates a true worldwide, panoramic view of landscaping creations by opening thirty new gardens each year. This year, the theme is Gardens from the Coming Century: an invitation to discover new ways of seeing, living and creating gardens, through topics relating to biodiversity, global warming, permaculture and landscapers’ poetic imagination.