COURONNES D'ARBRES, 2020
“In a remote section of the park, in a relatively hidden area, there is a cluster of three remarkable giant oaks.
For this trinity of oaks, Couronnes d’arbres takes the form of a meshed ensemble that wraps around each trunk. The shapes are at the level of the first branches, and the nature of their entanglement remains enigmatic – are they rings, nests or thinly-woven cocoons that filter the light and allow the tree trunks to be seen through them? At first glance, their strange fashion of embracing the trunk cannot be seen, but when you look again, their intriguing shape evokes musings on the nature of weightlessness. The presence of the sculptor’s hand and the ring motif symbolises a kind of union between man and trees, as well as the same sensuality that pervades the Estate.
These meshes are made from fig branches, a tree with erotic and Dionysian connotations, to evoke the wild and untamed forces of the forest. Each branch is first cast in bronze. The segments are then assembled and welded together. It is then a matter of improvising a veritable drawing in space. This is more than a work that glorifies the shapes of nature; it is a geometry, and a structured assembly. The bronze has a verdigris patina brought out by red and yellow ochre to give a colour reminiscent of lichen and that will one day become its natural patina. This reinforces the work's mimetic and almost hidden character.
The first works to use this technique were 'Couronne à Jean Fouquet', in 2014, which was displayed under the canopy of the stables here at Chaumont-sur-Loire, and Colonne de Rameaux, created for the Monument en Hommage aux Compagnons de la Libération at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris. It went on to inspire new forms and led to a presentation in the chapter house of the Abbey of Fontfroide in 2018, a major exhibition in the Art and Archaeology Museum of Besançon in 2019, and a work to be installed on the surface of the water in the city park in Fougères during the summer of 2020.” Vincent Barré
The work of art presented by Vincent Barré at Chaumont-sur-Loire reflect the way he relates to the idea of Nature.
The metaphor of the tree, with its growth rings, skin and stature, began to feature prominently in 2003 in his first sculptures erected for the Monument aux fusillés de la Nivelle (Monument to those shot dead at La Nivelle) in Amilly (Loiret): body of the tree, body of the man, concentric columns carved out of the same block of polystyrene before being cast in iron, harking back to the ages of the Resistance fighters, truncated columns, cut short.
This shift, from the living form dreamt up, to the material form, has continued ever since, both in the “standing” and “reclining” sculptures, until the actual appearance around 2010 of wood in its blends: “Compagnons” a pear tree trunk standing alongside an aluminium column, like two archaic torsos, and then “Coupe” : two strong twin columns with alternating wood and metal.
In the Historic Grounds, on the hillside, Vincent Barré has laid out a cast iron sculpture in 6 parts, through which we can see the surrounding landscape, ever changing, always fragmented and framed by the rings when we move or rest a moment between the blocks.
Vincent Barré was born in Vierzon in France in 1948. He is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. A pupil of the great architect, Louis Kahn, he also holds a doctorate in urban planning and a diploma in architecture. He taught at the Beaux-Arts in Paris until 2011. He lives and works in both Saint-Firmin des Bois (Loiret) et Paris.