→ Villa Noailles

From 11th July to 20th September
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 7pm.
Nocturnal on Thursday from 3pm to 9pm.
Closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Free entrance

Sara Favriau

The visual artist, Sara Favriau’s work revolves around sculpture which often takes the form of installations. Popular and familiar elements, such as a tree, a pirogue, an arch, or a cabin, which are a part of her formal and conceptual vocabulary, become elements which bear their own theatricality, their poetic enactment.

Cairn ou le Cercle vertueux is an installation of sculpted Aleppo pine logs. For the International Festival of Fashion, these trees have been taken from a forest (the forest of Font-Blanche) and brought within a park and an architecture, that of the dovecote at the villa Noailles. These trees compose and traverse the space of the dovecote and its scenography. The work Cairn ou le Cercle vertueux evokes two forms of architectures: one is primary, nature, and the other is symbolic, a temple. By acting upon the morphology of a tree, by sculpting it, nature has been transposed into a monument: the trunk becomes the bole of a column or a pillar. Through this sculpture the tree becomes a hybrid, taking on a chimeric appearance.
The work thus evokes and questions our relationship with fascination, and through this our relationship with nature. A fascination which is torn, caused by the pain brought about by the artist’s intervention upon the living material, confronted with the grace of three trees which have invited themselves within an institution.

Here, the logs are not the product of being felled. Instead, they will be trees that have perished, through a “natural” death, and selected from the forest of Font-Blanche in collaboration with biological researchers from INRAE Avignon. Their decline is the unfortunate story of climate change and forest droughts. The site of Font-Blanche is an experimental location, organised and directed by the URFM at the INRAE in Avignon, in partnership with the IRSTEA of Aix en Provence. Aleppo pine is a species that is native to the Mediterranean region. These trees are markers for the stakes at play in the INRAE’s research, with whom the artist collaborates. Indeed, the URFM is working upon the response of these trees to abiotic constraints. This research allows them to understand the factors of resistance and resilience behind these forests, in order to anticipate and develop the future.

The installation Cairn ou le Cercle vertueux, beyond its environmental and poetic status is a dual reflection upon a stance, investment, and experience, starting with the idea of a nature with which one cohabits, to reconstruct a biocenosis, in order to understand, discern, and test its limits… Finally, quite simply, to render the forest visible.

1 INRAE: Institut National de la Recherche l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
2 URFM: Unité de Recherche des Forêts Méditerranéennes
3 IRSTEA Aix-en-Provence: Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l’Environnement et l’Agriculture

With the support of the Autran sawmill

Sara Fraviau, "Cairn ou le Cercle vertueux", villa Noailles
Photography : Luc Bertrand, villa Noailles, july 2020

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