Saturday, July 21, 2007

More on the Colossus of Antibes aka the Nomade by Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa's "Nomade" at its "unveiling" (vernissage) on the ramparts of Antibes' Bastion St-Jaume, yesterday, Friday July 20th 2007

Art and Culture

If you have just arrived at Dreams and Daemons from a different site, please be advised that this post is a postscript to the preceding one, entitled Jaume Plensa does Antibes proud with his alphabetical Nomade.

This one is intended as a supplementary archive, with some more photographs and with biographical information on the artist and his previous works. You may well have encountered some of the artist's work in public places before, perhaps without being aware of it, eg. the new Toronto international airport.

That's the artist at the microphone in the pale suit
('point and click' to enlarge, same as other pix)

With him on his left is Jean Leonetti, Député Maire in the darker suit.
(word of caution for non-expatriate Brits: M.Leonetti is not a deputy Mayor, but combines the duties of MP (Député) in the French national parliament, and that of Maire (Mayor) of Antibes here in his local power base. One has to be careful to get that sort of thing right, bloggers included: town mayors are very important people here in France)

Here was the view from the hospitality area
Viewing at the vernissage was by invitation only. I wangled an invitation through being married to Jane, who is secretary of the Antiboulenc Association (Antibes' main cultural/artistic society which runs its own library in the Vielle Ville).

View from inside the Nomade, looking roughly south

That's one of Antibes two iconic Saracen towers you can see through the loop of the J, with the northern end of the Cap d'Antibes visible behind the X.

Recent demolition and partial restoration of the Bastion St. Jaume
When we first came to Antibes some 6 years ago, the port area where the Nomade stands was a bit of a sad sight to behold. It had once been a busy site for naval fitting out, under the name Chantier Navale, but the buildings were derelict and unsafe, being closed off to the public. The Antibes town council decided on a drastic remedy which involved demolishing everything except the remaining sections of sound stonework. It now looks somewhat bare and skeletal, but offers new vantage points for townsfolk and tourists. The port area needed something to act as a focal point, a role which the Nomade serves admirably. It's supposed to be a temporary implantation in Antibes, but given that its paintwork is weather -resistant (well, that's what it says on the plinth), how nice it would be if it could become a permanent feature : the Colossus of Antibes (?).
Links: The first is from the University of Massachusetts website with the following summary of the artist:

Plensa integrates a wide variety of materials such as iron, glass, bronze and resin to take best advantage of the more intangible qualities of light and sound as well as the ideas that arise from spoken or written texts.
His main preoccupation is with the body and the manner in which we perceive our world from the purely sensory to more complicated thoughts, gestures, and expressions. It is his realization of this participatory mode--an always present, primal interaction between perceiver and perceived--that underlies all of his work, no matter the shape it assumes.
Second link: photographs and background info on the artist's work on permanent public display at Jacksonville, Florida and Toronto.
Third link: see the official Antibes-Juan-les-Pins website (French language) for info' on the public works programme at the Bastion St-Jaume - and the flagging up of the Nomade.

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