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Salle de départs
Ettore Spalletti, Guido Fanti

Patrons - Hôpital Raymond Poincaré
Mediator - Jean-Yves Bobe ; Catia Riccaboni
Supporters - Hospital Raymond Poincaré ; Fondation de France
Garches, France, 1996

The context

The Salle des Départs at Raymond Poincaré Hospital allows bereaved people to mourn before the funeral convoys leave. In order to humanize this place and accompany those who are going through the painful ordeal of loss, the patrons asked for an artist to intervene and create a space marked by a metaphysical and poetic charge.

The commission

Through the almost monochrome use of the azure blue colour, the artist manages to blend his creation with the architecture of the place while dematerializing it. If blue is a cold colour, it is also the colour of space and infinity, carrying a spiritual dimension. It corresponds to it vases and amphorae in marble, funeral furniture par excellence, pure and anonymous forms of time immemorial. Only the murmur from the fountain in the centre of the morgue breaks the silence, it symbolizes the flow of life.
Spalletti thus manages to unite life and death in a dense and elusive space. Deprived of all gravity and tragedy, the aesthetics of the Departure Hall calls the bereaved to the slow work of detachment that they must accomplish. Through this ambitious and noble project, it is an essentialist vision of the confrontation with the space of death that is proposed.

Ettore Spalletti & Guido Fanti

Considering the architectural dimension of the place, the mediators thought that only a painter could succeed in designing a sufficiently unified spatial environment to encompass the entire space. They proposed the artists Tremlett and Spalletti. The commissions were spontaneously won over by Spalletti's work, whose transcendental dimension and purity of abstract forms they loved. During the first appointment, the artist did not wish to see the departure room of which he became acquainted by a plan and photographs, but privileged the dialogue with the doctors in order to better understand their desire. It was only in a second phase that he presented his project. The patrons and the entire service accepted it unreservedly because it resonated with their conception of the apprehension of death. To help him, Ettore Spalletti called on the architects Guido Santi and Ngodjo, who were in charge of the project management.