Friday, 30 July 2010

Open Air Art in Rouen: the Boieldieu bridge

Last week I went with a school friend on a package tour to Normandy with the aim of seeing as much art from the Impressionist Festival as possible.  The festival continues until the end of September.  Unfortunately we could not find a tour that focussed on art history or the festival in July and I was not prepared to drive as I have done very little driving on the continent so we ended up on a more general tour.  Overall we did quite well though as we had quite a bit of free time.  In addition to very interesting exhibitions in museums (to follow) there were a number of open air pieces of art in Rouen.  The most spectacular of these is an installation by Arne Quinze on the Boieldieu Bridge right in the centre of the city.

It is built of wood and looks very light.  It takes up most of the space on the bridge and buses have had to be diverted.

Walking across the bridge underneath it is interesting.  The artist says that the installation aims to reproduce the energy of the original impressionists and to make the energy absorb the spectator in an active way.  I am not sure if I quite understand this!

The bridge has several permanent sculptures as well as a row of busts of famous explorers.  They are an interesting juxtaposition to this temporary work.  I do not know who the sculptor of the main pieces was but they remind me of Eric Gill's work.

As you can see, they represent Viking warriors who invaded this part of France.

And here is the second one end on:

There are lovely views of the old part of the city and the cathedral from this bridge, not to mention a city plage  on the river bank.  That is what the people leaning over the bridge are looking at.

Near the bridge on the embankment are some very small art objects.  We managed to find them but could not understand what they were saying!  I also found an interesting exhibition in the basement of Galleries Lafeyette.  These were photographs of Mount Fuji taken at different times of the day and at different seasons.  I have never given much thought to Mount Fuji and some of these made it look almost like something out of the mid-West of the USA.  Next day we went to Giverney and I began to learn about the connections between the Impressionists and Japan.  I knew there was a connection with pottery and Bernard Leach but I knew nothing of the Japanese influence on the painters.

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