around the chateau

June 27, 2013

suzuki archipel 1

In the Domaine de Chaumont – sur – Loire, there is an annual international garden festival which I ‘ve visited about 6 times since it opened 20 odd years ago; mainly to see the show gardens. Since the beginnings, other areas of the park have been developed to offer visitor facilities and to contribute to the big idea of making Chaumont a Centre for Art and Nature devoted to the “relationship between nature and culture, artistic creation and the impact of landscape, our heritage and contemporary art” – from the brochure. This year, I found it difficult to respond to and enjoy most of the show gardens (post to follow), but what I did enjoy was the selective siting of installations within other parts of the parkland as well as the creation of another landscape for more permanent conceptual gardens – the Prés du Goualoup. L’archipel (top image) designed by Shodo Suzuki  is here and is . . .

suzuki

. . . a development of his original Zen garden from early years of the festival (above). One comment was that the recent creation looked a little like a golf course. Land form is always difficult to integrate into large areas of flat grassland and maybe the strong principles behind this form of garden were sitting uneasily within this landscape – certainly with spreads of pretty wild flowers. I did find it calming however, which is important.

suzuki archipel 4

wild flower edge + kawamata

The installation by Rainer Gross – Toi(t) à terre  – visible from the Loire and offering views of the river from the parkland. This blackened wood form appears to  have gently rolled down and settled itself in a discarded manner against one of the park trees . Great scale  . . . . .

rainer gross  cone 1

. . . and the partner, Toi(t) en perspective, hangs from the giant trees. Shapes inspired by the conical chateux towers, specifically Amboise, just along the Loire.

rainer gross blackened wood  2

patrick doughertywillow 3

Patrick Dougherty designed these airy forms which looked like willow and indeed parts appeared to be sprouting. Tactile, curious and fun.

patrick dougherty willow4

nash charred wood

More serious work from David Nash – static, monumental, confident and not inviting – which isn’t a criticism just an observation. The cedars however, are monumental as well as retaining their graceful habit and character.

cedrus

stables

Within the renovated stables complex – stupendous 19th C indulgence – sits Spirale Végétale. Patrick Blanc created a green wall  here many years ago – once seen never forgotten – where the workings were visible and so helpful to all who marvelled. He’s back again with this giant curving leaf form open to the sky. Many times copied but always falling short – his planting is his mark and my pix are poor!

patrick blanc 1

patrick blanc 2

corten seats

By the Hayloft Gallery, one of the old farm buildings, a touch of contemporary amongst a wealth of quite beautifully renovated traditional elements.  Corten steel to give you a rusty, grid pattern on your backside and uncomfortable to boot. So, the implication is not to perch.

mixes

hopper

By the greenhouse, wiggley -woggley lines of box domes which are rather charming especially as they sit in the angular built environment – an image used in a previous post.

lines of box

6 stables

kongjian 1

Le Jardin de Yu Kongjian – Carré et Rond – re sited permanently in the new Goualoup area offers a curving boardwalk over water in an eyes down sort of way. More interesting in an eyes up way though is Nuage Permanent by Nakaya. The inside of a cloud within the birch grove. An imagined imagery controlled superbly.

nakaya 1

nakaya 2

Aujourd’hui l’espace est splendide!
Sans mors, sans éperons, sans bride,
Partons à cheval sur le vin
Pour un ciel féerique et divin!

Comme deux anges que torture
Une implacable calenture
Dans le bleu cristal du matin
Suivons le mirage lointain!

Mollement balancés sur l’aile
Du tourbillon intelligent,
Dans un délire parallèle,

Ma soeur, côte à côte nageant,
Nous fuirons sans repos ni trêves
Vers le paradis de mes rêves! Charles Baudelaire  Le Vin des amants

Oh, what a splendour fills all space!
Without bit, spur, or rein to race,
Let’s gallop on the steeds of wine
To heavens magic and divine!

Now like two angels off the track,
Whom wild relentless fevers rack,
On through the morning’s crystal blue
The swift mirages we’ll pursue.

Now softly poised upon the wings
That a sagacious cyclone brings,
In parallel delirium twinned,

While side by side we surf the wind,
We’ll never cease from such extremes,
To seek the Eden of our dreams!  trans. Roy Campbell

8 Responses to “around the chateau”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    Mist or smoke in the last couple of images? On purpose I assume?


  2. Nice post Julia and some good pics. I cut my professional photographic teeth at Chaumont, having my first published pic from there in 1999. I went for about 10 years and then had that rather sad “i’ve seen all this” feeling. Which I hadn’t, of course, but there was a pic above that I felt I could have seen at Chaumont anytime. I remember my last visit I found the park the most interesting and stimulating, too. (I never want to be calmed by gardens!!!).

  3. julia fogg Says:

    Oh, sometimes I do like a bit of calm amongst the dross! It’s an impressive eveny now but I thought the show gardens poor generally – maybe the given concept was at fault.

    • charleshawes Says:

      Designers/garden creators are never restricted by themes If they have flair and creativity. But maybe the whole festival has just become rather stale. Time to move on.

  4. Lois Tonkin Says:

    Thank you Julia. Wonderful to have the opportunity to see these through your eyes from the other side of the world in NZ.

  5. julia fogg Says:

    Many thanks Lois.

  6. Nanda Says:

    Wow, never heard of such thing as a garden festival, J!
    But it’s beautiful, I’m in love with the 5 and 6 photos! Amazing work and thanks for sharing! x


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