La vie de l'Olivier
Sarkis, Manuel Paoli
Olive wood sculptures. In the Compagnons training centers, it is customary for a work of art to be placed in the dining room. But in Marseilles, the olive wood that had been cut for this purpose over forty years ago had yet to be transformed. The project's commissioners expressed the desire that the creation of this work of art be the occasion for a collaboration with a contemporary artist, all while maintaining their principal values: knowledge, respect for materials and the transmission of trades. The work consists of four loud-speakers made of solid olive wood, each of which is topped by a sculpture representing the tree symbolic of the region. Placed in the four corners of the dining hall, the speakers play music as well as other recordings students are invited to suggest: the sound of workshops, Compagnon songs, etc.
The Compagnons de la Maison of Marseille who have put themselves forward as patrons wished for the implementation of a work that would acknowledge the special nature of the Marseille Maison (associated with the theme of travel) at the same time as embodying the values of compagnonnage or guild membership (skill, respect for materials, passing on of know-how, etc.) and illustrating the guild members' wish to be open to contemporary society. With this in mind, they wanted the contemporary artist chosen to collaborate with a sculptor who was a guild member, and olive wood cut 30 years ago in anticipation of the creation of this work to be used to implement it. The work consists of four loudspeakers made from pre-cut planks of olive wood. Above the four loudspeakers, four bushes will be carved for the four seasons, in the same species of wood. It is as if the sound from the loudspeakers were going to feed the bushes. The four loudspeakers will be of a professional standard, with great musicality enhanced by the thickness, quality and character of our olive wood. The loudspeakers will be placed on olive wood boards fixed on to the four walls of the dining-room 40 cm above floor level. They will be supplied by an amplifier of around 300 watts and linked to a high-quality CD player.(...) This work will have its own voice. The sculpture will broadcast sounds, music, work-site and workshop noises, contributed by future guild members or their masters, or again guild songs. Sarkis / Manuel Paoli
Sarkis was born in Istanbul in 1938, of Armenian parents. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1964, and has taught at the Decorative Arts school of Strasbourg since 1980. The dialogue between past and present is a recurring theme in his work (sculpture, painting, watercolor, installation, film), (cf. p.194, Watercolors in water workshop).
Manuel Paoli was born in 1962 in Marseilles. He lives and works in La Cadière d'Azur (Var). Following professional training as a stonecutter at the Compagnons du Devoir (Craftsmen's Guild), he has created numerous monumental sculptures.