La Tour d’or blanc
The origin of the commission
In 2009, the winegrowers asked the Mayor of Amboise to promote the presence of Touraine-Amboise appellation wine, in particular by installing a work of art. Concerned about the artistic quality of Amboise's heritage (the presence of Leonardo da Vinci through the Clos Lucé, sculptures by Max Ernst and Alexander Calder, not to mention the castle and the old streets of the town), the winegrowers wanted this artistic commission to be entrusted to a recognised artist from the contemporary art scene. In addition, the commission was intended to balance Amboise's artistic heritage geographically by providing the northern quarter with this contemporary work. The association of du bout des ponts district, a somewhat isolated and little-known district, was invited to participate in defining the project.
A citizen's commission
Together, they called on Éric Foucault, a cultural mediator, to ensure that this project was part of the New Patrons protocol, initiated by the Fondation de France, which allows citizens to call on an artist. The group of patrons then asked that the work should help to tell a shared story, between the young winegrowers, the enhancement of the Ambois landscape and the link with the Loire. On a proposal from the mediator, Jean-Michel Othoniel was chosen to respond to the commission. As the commission is becoming increasingly important, the town has also asked the Drac Centre-Val de Loire to present the project to the Conseil national des œuvres d'art dans l'espace public in order to request support from the Ministry of Culture.
Jean-Michel Othoniel's work is based on wine growing, the Loire landscape, the buildings of Amboise and the light so particular to Touraine. La Tour d'Or Blanc is thus inspired by several local references:
- The Loire and the different colours it takes on according to the seasons and the time of day
- The Clos des Châteliers vintage, a chenin with its golden colour.
- The various semaphores visible in the Ambois area: the Chanteloup pagoda, the Saint-Hubert chapel, the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, the Notre-Dame du Bout des Ponts church, the market gardens and the Touraine lanterns.
- The rostral columns of the port cities and the obvious presence of the Loire.
- The stone bridge linking the site of the future work and the Royal Castle.
The artwork is installed on the roundabout in the continuation of the stone bridge; it thus dialogues with the castle on the south bank.
More than a simple sculpture, La Tour d'Or Blanc acts as a real urban signal, crystallising within it all that constitutes the identity of the Amboisian territory.