Portes et bruits de fontaines (Bure-Les-Templiers wash house)
Françoise Naudet, president of the Association des Sept vallées in Haute Côte d'Or, who has passed away, wants to save the village washhouses from indifference. It is at the origin of the awareness that leads, among other things, to the organization of a tour as part of the European Leader II program. The Local Action Group chaired by Martine Eap-Dupin, General Councillor and Mayor of Précy-sur-Thil with the support of Jacqueline Bosset-Chauvière at the Côte d'Or General Council, supports this project of the Fondation de France. Thirteen villages are concerned by the restorations and nine works are commissioned for the washhouses of eight of them. In addition, there is a photographic commission, which is reflected in a book. The entire operation is supported by Whirlpool (Daniel Payan).
The wash house at Bure-les-Templiers is located at the centre of the village, below the building that serves as the town hall and school. The patrons felt that the artistic intervention should relate to the two doors, one opening on to the street, the other on to the garden. The sobriety of the interior reinforces the austerity of the rectangular wash house, a simple elementary geometric form, as are all its openings - doors and windows alike.
The work consists of two steel doors in which circular holes of different diameters have been pierced, creating a sense of dynamism and answering a functional need. The holes are lined with sheets of Plexiglas, blue to the east, yellow to the west. The wash house thus states its topographical position in relation to the general organization of the village. Initially the artist had suggested a regular grid of holes of equal size for the doors, but the patrons felt his scheme was too urban, and asked him to give it a more natural focus, hence the irregularity of the holes, giving the feeling that the shapes are self-generating. Gillick is also going to design a sound circuit linking the fountains to each other. An installation consisting of a board fitted with switches and several loudspeakers located in another wash house elsewhere will enable everyone operating the work to hear the conversations and the noises of water occurring simultaneously in the other places. The increased number of relationships between inside and out gives rise to a space open to exchanges.
The mediator suggested bringing in Liam Gillick. Since the late 1980s he has been questioning art's identity and contemporary modes of operating by investing in elementary geometric forms which refer to back to a certain aspect of historical abstraction, but also to the world of communication (logos carrying messages). These are pure forms the beauty of which makes the relations between fiction and reality perceptible in an all-embracing apprehension of the world. The formal objects produced are never an end in themselves, but are understood as backdrops for scenarios, real discussion platforms, in accordance with the concept created by Gillick in the mid-1990s.