THE WORK ON DISPLAY AT CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE IS A SPECIAL COMMISSION FROM THE CENTRE REGION (2011-2013)
"Rooms almost in ruins in a marvellous Château: this is the contrast which struck me on my first visit.
It had been snowing. There were hardly any visitors. There was a certain melancholy feel in almost all the rooms, both those open to the public and those that were closed to them.
We had started the tour of the Château with the rooms that are well fitted out and open to the public. Then, we had gone on through rooms almost in ruins and closed to visitors, where abandoned objects awaited us. The walls breathed time, the past. The rooms had not been heated for decades – I remember going up to a small window and looking out; the snowy landscape seemed as if it had been fixed for a really long time under a changing light. Fixed images which would change with the light, these later transformed, giving birth to the idea of stained glass.
A scenario was about to take shape. I would invite people to take a walk to the abandoned rooms, I would only change or touch very few things, sometimes I wouldn’t even let the visitors go in, keeping them on the threshold looking at the interior of the room like a stage set… Suddenly, you would catch sight of a pane of stained glass hanging in front of a window, like an actor in counterpoint. New stained glass, with its ancient technique and its contemporary image, evoking the vast richness of our culture, of all times, of all places, of here and elsewhere: a cherry tree in blossom in a Japanese garden, an abandoned palace beside a lake in Ahmedabad, a sunset at Nordland, the section of the Carrara white marble mountain, the face of an Indian dancing girl in the rain, Liebeskind’s architecture of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, a well amidst greenery in Tuscany, the resurrection of a person from the dead in a film by Dreyer, 12 candles in an old church in Armenia, the birth of a new architecture on the borders of an old district in England, the dance of a Shaman tribe, the face of a man looking at us in huge close-up, the snowy landscape seen from a small window in the Château de Chaumont…
Each of the windows in the rooms, amidst a state of abandon, would have its suspended stained glass, lit by natural daylight and another, artificial light. Both light sources would give birth to other lights. An acutely rich image, fixed in the stained-glass technique, but also moving thanks to the light sources.
In the first year, at the time of the opening in April 2011, 40 panes of stained glass will be hung in place, including 10 which will be made on site. 32 panes of stained glass will be designed in the second year.
The panes of stained-glass do not tell a story, they are open to the history of our world, to thousands upon thousands of images." Sarkis