What is that shadow beneath the trees? A freak of nature ? No, it is « Waldputz », which means « cleaning the forest », elaborated by German artist, Michael Sailstorfer. It is a protocol work of art, meaning it can be recreated endlessly, following instructions given by the artist, in a type of user’s guide.To respect the protocol, once a month, the staff at the art centre remove a square piece of ground, revealing, brown humus (pronounce you-mus) and roots amidst the leaves. This work of art is unlasting and eternally renewable, worldly and timeless, sometimes visible, sometimes invisible.
Much like an orchestra director’s baton, placed in a bush by Kris Martin, the artwork in the sculpture forest follows the rhythm of nature and seasons, constantly renewing the way it is seen by visitors. Here, the artworks do not defy time, they integrate it as part of their changing nature.
« La prairie fleurie » (or flowery prairie) by Gilles Clément fits in with the landscape guidelines charter he wrote up for Vassivière. Each year, a large strip of land is replanted with different types of annual, biennial and perennial plants and the work of art expands, thanks to the natural benefits of biodiversity, inviting visitors to reflect upon the diversity of all living things.
« La Licorne de Vassivière » (or Vassivière’s unicorn) by Yona Friedman is a geoglyph, a large drawing, as large as the Eiffel tower, created on the ground, and only visible from the sky or from the top of the art centre. This protocol work of art is re-drawn each year, using a mixture of dirt and limestone. The unicorn is an unlasting sculpture, that fades as the months go by, but it nourishes the earth along the lines it traces. Just like Nazca lines in Peru, this work of art gives a mysterious atmosphere to Vassivière.
Living works of art
Many of the works in Vassivière’s Sculpture Forest evolve as time and seasons go by. This video will help you to understand the living dimension of art. It reveals the sculptures’ transformations, from the tiniest, to the most spectacular changes.