La jetée sur l'herbe
Mediator - Eric Foucault, Eternal Network
Supporters - Fondation de France, Departmental Council of Indre-et-Loire, Centre Region, city of Tours, Tours’ OPAC, Chantemoulin association, Eternal Network
Foyer Chaumier (previously known as Chantemoulin), Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France, 2012
The Chantemoulin association, based in Tours, provides a comforting and reassuring place to children and young adults facing family and social difficulties. The shelter welcomes youth from 13 to their majority, in need of a protection or to move away from their families or social environment for a moment. Six specialised educators guide them in their socio-professional projects, and help them with their scholarship or their external schooling.
The residents have to consider the shelter as a second home, where they also participate in the cleaning and cooking. Yet, nothing permits them to appropriate and personalise the place, and they’ve expressed a need to make their temporary home warmer.
The educators called upon Eternal Network to help them find the right balance between keeping a neutral place, for each resident to feel integrated, and providing a form of affective identification. The meals are privileged moments, where residents and educators are together. They’re also de best moments to recreate a family atmosphere.
The patrons wanted to involve the youth to the realisation of the project, as they will be the main users.
Eternal Network entrusted the commission to Nicolas Floc’h, with whom the association had collaborated before. The residents worked on the project through nine sessions with the artist, over meals prepared by the cook Olivier Dohin. They also visited nearby craftsmen’s ateliers, to deal with the manufacture of furniture and dinner sets. It was an opportunity for them to approach diverse notions such as manners or how to live in a community.
Nicolas Floc’h invented a workable device, Modules, which permits to realise architectural expansions in the garden. The first project was supposed to take place around a willow, which had a protective role for the residents, as the garden is surrounded by buildings. Unfortunately the tree had to be cut, so Floc’h modified the design and incorporated a polygonal tree to the structure, to be the stake of a climbing plant.
Then, they created a patio on stilts to link the garden to the dining room, which is upstairs, and produced pieces of furniture and dinner sets. Finally, Nicolas Floc’h proposed a workable device, Modules, which permits to realise architectural expansions in the garden. Tables, chairs, benches and a sofa were imagined for the dining room. Outside, the garden was redesigned with the patio, which welcomes a large table, benches and a barbecue.
Nicolas Floc'h, born in 1970 in Rennes, lives and works in Paris. He is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and one of the leading young French artists. His work has been exhibited since the 1990s in institutions in France and abroad (MAC/VAL, Vitry-sur-Seine; Frac des Pays de Loire; CRAC, Sète; Matucana 100, Chile). He is also invited to participate in many events. He recently won renown through his participation in the Biennale de Rennes, "Regards croisés", in 2008, and participated in the Mercosur Biennale in Porto Alegre in September 2009. Nicolas Floc'h has been exploring artistic practices in relation to contexts. His works have many forms – installation, sculpture, film, performance, scenography, etc. –, which are presented as open, multifunctional, modular and consumable structures. Products come from the words that denote them and are sold on the market, a filet of pelagic fish reproduces the Eiffel Tower on scale 1, a multifunctional structure changes according to its use (e.g. bookshelf, counter), and so on. His artistic proposals are experiments that explore modes of production, distribution and consumption of art. Nicolas Floc'h invents processes of creation that cannot exist without other people's collaboration and appropriation. His works call for appropriation through imagination and narrative, thereby allowing for dialogue between the subjective and the collective, the real and fiction.