A new work for the organisation Causes Aux Balcons, Villard de Lans in the Vercors, France
In 2019 I was invited by Jerome Aussibal to make a work in this stunning limestone region in France. Jerome is a sculptor, a climber and an acrobat; a man with a huge drive and energy.
I made a site visit in September and was all set to start the following year, but because of the pandemic it was postponed until September 2021. At this point a new site was established at Chateau Julien high up in the mountains with a clear view to the conical Mountain; Le Moucherol, which dominates the landscape.
Because the limestone splits into slates, it seemed the ideal place for a whirlpool, but with the edition of an oculus which would as it were bring the energy of the mountain down through the oculus/portal, into the whirlpool and down into ground and away down into the valley under the cliff on which Chateau Julien is sited. Limestone is also a liquid: it originates in a sea, is compressed and lifted up. Water dissolves it into rivers and caves underground. So water becomes rock which dissolves back into water, hence the title of the work.
A small ritual and offering was made to the site before work commenced. Work began by excavating the circular site flat with a JCB and a small digger. Surprisingly just here was mostly deep earth. On a daily basis we had 10 – 15 volunteers working under my instruction. The digger brought stone to us daily and Jerome became a site manager and oversaw most of the major construction, including the oculus, which was something new for both of us. We used some very big heavy stones in this and it was quite an undertaking.
Each day lunch was brought to us from the cafe at the base of the trail. So French; so civilised.