pines

To the west of Aix-en-Provence, is a site that forms part of ‘Sur les Pas de Cézanne‘, if you are a tourist but is also a splendid place if you are a resident. I was very taken with this well built welcoming  wall but someone else, quite small, charged off to see what happened beyond the far gate. The gate was quite lovely and well designed – everything was looking very promising until we hit the visitor’s centre . . .

wall 1

wall

gates

entrance

. . . peering into the entrance through bars, we discovered that unfortunately we’d missed the only slot of the day for a guided tour. This happens at  9.45am but only on certain days. So I am grateful to Louisa Jones + photographer Clive Nichols for these scans below taken  from Mediterranean Landscape Design – a wonderful book – of the scheme. Philippe Daliau (ALEP Agency) has created fine and sensitive interventions within the exposed stone providing a walk over differing surfaces with differing treatments – timber, metal -where views are encapsulated and framed by angled mass of the rock – some hewn and some natural.

quarry 1

quarry 2

Wandering through just part of the 7 hectare site that provided stone for the building of Aix (up to the end of 18C), we came across individual stone landscapes. In a certain way, it’s like a lost world but then in another, it’s seems well used. Rock climbing at a novice scale, mountain bikes carefully controlled, joggers, picque niques and large family get togethers and 4 legs all jostling together in a merry fashion.

rock face

Scrub oak, arbutus, pistacia lentiscus and pine form the major structural planting with some cistus, rosemary, euphorbia and rambling lonicera in the sunny patches  . . .

pines 2

upwards

mont ste victoire

. . framed views of Mont Sainte – Victoire and the barrage Zola taken while we lounged around on a rocky outcrop – an indulgent pastime for a Saturday morning and why not?

mont ste victoire + barrage

And moving on we find a built structure, not a cabanon that Cézanne might have used during his time drawing and painting here . . .

structure

. .  but a building that encouraged interaction and it had with a great view. Can’t take my eyes off the landscape.

view south

The Irish lady can say, that to-day is every day. Caesar can say that
every day is to-day and they say that every day is as they say.
In this way we have a place to stay and he was not met because
he was settled to stay. When I said settled I meant settled to stay.
When I said settled to stay I meant settled to stay Saturday. In this
way a mouth is a mouth. In this way if in as a mouth if in as a
mouth where, if in as a mouth where and there. Believe they have
water too. Believe they have that water too and blue when you see
blue, is all blue precious too, is all that that is precious too is all
that and they meant to absolve you. In this way Cézanne nearly did
nearly in this way. Cézanne nearly did nearly did and nearly did.
And was I surprised. Was I very surprised. Was I surprised. I was
surprised and in that patient, are you patient when you find bees.
Bees in a garden make a specialty of honey and so does honey. Honey
and prayer. Honey and there. There where the grass can grow nearly
four times yearly.  G Stein  Cézanne

to human rights ferrari

Parque de la Memoria ( Memory Park) is unique in symbolism and unique among the eclectic mix of parks and green spaces in Buenos Aires. Carlos Thays planned most of the 19 – 20 C parks during the initial growth of this city as the capital of a large country facing industrialisation. In recent years, more contemporary open spaces have been slotted into post industrial developments such as Puerto Madero, along the Plata underlining the growth in the economy and changes in social requirements. Many of the new parks and urban spaces integrate abstract sculptures – this park has eight visually powerful pieces conceived and created within a broad collective theme of  Human Rights. This is not only a park but also a monument to the tens of thousands of Argentines that disappeared during the military dictatorships that spanned 14 years. It’s fitting that the site chosen is by the river believed to be the final resting place of many of the disappeared and also that it is adjacent to the University that many victims were associated with.

entrance

The main access is uncompromising in its bleakness  – an immediate wake up call to the rationale behind the design – but transforms itself well into a user friendly open classroom when the young inhabit the park . . . .

monument to escape  oppenheim 2

monument to escape oppenheim

light line

. .  distant horizons are incorporated into the linear framework. The river is wide here but the sense of the opposite shore, Uruguay, is strong although too distant visually –  the seen and the unseen. The personal memorial to those ‘lost’ is a series of concrete walls that vary in angle, height and length and define spaces that are sharply angled and sloping.  The names of those that disappeared during the dictatorships are carved into bricks attached to the walls making a textured surface that contributes to a sense of discomfort, tension and sadness – all suitable.

wall 1

wall education

wall 2

The planting is chosen to underscore the symbolism as well as compliment the architectural feel of the park. A bosque of red budded Erythrina crista-galli, the national tree, and well able to cope with the harsh river side conditions plus the lack of management, stand in a asymmetrical group.

the square

bosque of erythrina crista-galli  (ceibos)

ceiba speciosa

Areas of grass are left long perhaps to discourage active play – a creeping geranium tinged the sward with a flush of pink similar in tone to the spectacular flowers on the Ceiba speciosa  . . . . .

geranium sanguineum meadow

memory signs  grupo de arte callejero

. . .  one installation that demands attention is the arc of 53 signs. Traffic signs that have become a visual language here display  information as though on a route through Argentina’s recent history of state terrorism (Grupo de Arte Callejero). . . .

sign 1

sign 2

sign 3

sign 4

. . . and the dreaded Ford Falcon.

pier to east

The park spreads out into the river in a wide arc enabling immediate connection with the water as well as opportunities to gaze, rest and reflect.

rio de la plata

Pablo Miguez disappeared at the age of 14. This sculpture by Claudia Fontes was conceived specifically for this siting in the Rio de la Plata. If Pablo had survived he would be the same age today as the sculptor.

reconstruction of the portrait of Pablo Miguez  fontes

Libre de la memoria y de la esperanza,
ilimitado, abstracto, casi futuro,
el muerto no es un muerto:  es la muerte.
Como el Díos de los místicos
de Quien deben negarse todos los predicados,
el muerto ubicuamente ajeno
no es sino la perdición y ausencia del mundo.
Todo se lo robamos,
no le dejamos ni un color ni una sílaba:
aquí está el patio que ya no comparten sus ojos,
allí la acera donde acechó su esperanza.
Aun lo que pensamos
podría estar pensándolo él;

nos hemos repartido como ladrones

el caudal de las noches y de los días.

Free of memory and of hope,
limitless, abstract, almost future,
the dead man is not a dead man: he is death.
Like the God of the mystics,
of Whom anything that could be said must be denied,
the dead one, alien everywhere,
is but the ruin and absence of the world.
We rob him of everything,
we leave him not so much as a color or syllable:
here, the courtyard which his eyes no longer see,
there, the sidewalk where his hope lay in wait.
Even what we are thinking,
he could be thinking;

we have divvied up like thieves

the booty of nights and days.

Jorge Luis Borges Remordimiento Por Cualquier Muerte

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