Le lavoir de Blessey
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).
Zaugg suggested rearranging the traffic route to reflect the semi-circular image of the wash house's architecture. This involved work of an essentially topographical nature; the wash house which was untouched is perceived all the more as an epicentre. New views of the surrounding area emerged, which ended with the restitution of old abandoned lanes and the restoration of dry-stone walls. Zaugg sent the inhabitants back to their responsibilities. A reactivation of trades involving stone will be accompanied by a training and integration programme. Looking at the whole environment, the question of the central place as a structuring focus came to light. Moreover, the final phase of the process will consist of creating a pond behind the wash house. An inscription on the top course of the embankment corresponding to a designation of the elements in the landscape through language will be the final stage of the project.
The mediator suggested Rémy Zaugg, a Swiss artist known for the relevance of his ideas about public and social space. Since the mid-1960s Zaugg has been analysing the perceptual conditions associated with a work of art. Taking a picture by Cézanne as his starting point, he developed awareness of his own perception, proceeded to denominate it, and finished with the transposition of the pictural substance into a linguistic substance (1963-1968). That research is the basis of all his creative work. Zaugg was cautious about the wishes of the patrons underlying the commission: to celebrate a heritage monument. Jolting the patrons into awareness of their responsibility towards the environment seemed to him the most appropriate attitude when confronted with the initial project. The commission was then reformulated. It was no longer so much a matter of bringing an artist in to the site as of raising questions about the place the site occupied in the surrounding landscape.