La maison où j'ai grandi à Plougonver
The municipality of Plougonver (3600 hectares, 750 inhabitants) wishes to respond to the major problem it faces, rural desertification, by enhancing its image to attract new inhabitants and preserve existing infrastructures and services. Among other actions to revitalize the municipality, a series of commissions in contemporary art* has been initiated. One of them concerns a small house that is now located in the center of a subdivision under construction. This old people's house is part of the history of the village that served as a refuge for the poorest people at the end of their lives. The patrons wanted not only to preserve it but also to perpetuate, through an artistic intervention, the memory that it crystallizes.
Claude Lévêque wanted to take ostensibly ownership of this place, entitled his project La maison où j'ai grandi à Plougonver. The reference to Françoise Hardy's song suggests the idea of a melody that instantly arouses emotion. The house becomes the place where each of us could have grown up or taken refuge, the fictional theatre of past or future lives. The title not only opens up new ways of appropriation, but also reverses time : the end gives way to the beginning, old age to childhood. In La maison où j'ai grandi à Plougonver, we find a certain number of elements that are already very present in Claude Lévêque's artistic language, what he himself calls "motifs": transparency, reflection, light, shadow. A quartet that allows you to (re)create space in a different way. The dwelling is exposed. The traditional materials of the roof and openings being replaced by glass, we benefit from a panoptic view of its unique piece. Our gaze reaches it through the windows but also through the roof/glass roof, through a dominant position to which external stairs lead us. We can look at it but not penetrate it. The house is now a visual object, its physical space has become an image space, a screen for the imagination. It reveals an austere world in black and white that hosts the evocation of furniture, a table and chairs. The contained melancholy of this universe lights up at night : a white light sweeps the shapes inside, drawing an enigmatic play of shadows while the unreal light of sodium transforms the house into a source of light for all its surroundings. Claude Lévêque's work for Plougonver restores a local collective memory in its complex truth, such as the play of light and shadow, and contributes to its transmission through the emotional revival of ideas and values necessary both yesterday and today. In a direct neighbourhood with the new low-rent housing, it gives it a central place, literally and symbolically. But if the work seems to contain and convey stories, like a hummed music, they no longer have any age or origin, they belong as much to the past as to the present, they are from here and there.
Claude Lévêque was born in 1953 in Nevers. He lives and works in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) and Pèteloup (Nièvre). Whether he works in the urban space or invests in an exhibition space transformed into a dreamlike universe, Claude Lévêque's raw material remains the daily environment. His spectacular installations play on the aesthetic spring of fascination. Fiction plays the role of a revealing detour that allows us to experience reality differently, through renewed perceptions.