“The man who reads” is shown at the Victor Hugo cultural space

A ceramic creation designed and made in a workshop in La Borne will be inaugurated in the Victor-Hugo cultural space on Friday, September 9. It is a special work by a trio of artists, Charlotte Poulsen, Ophelia Derely and Christophe Léger. The installation of the chalk painting The Man Reading takes place after a year of work, an atypical achievement that promotes local know-how.

Random on the project

If the result is happy, for Charlotte Poulsen, the creative journey began by chance. “I learned on February 18, 2021 from the Board of Directors of the association of ceramists in La Borne about this project for the media library. I thought it was a sculpture and then I realized it was a mural. The application and a detailed project should to be submitted on February 26…”
For two years, the artist from Born had been working with human sculpture: “I had created a man who lay and read. For a media library this project was obvious… So I started to draw, a man lying on his elbow reading. We also needed a female character! I drew two girls lying on their stomachs reading. And all around there was room. I placed open books with pages and folders. The rules mandated a collective performance. The artist immediately thought “of the association’s two youngest ceramicists, I called them, Ophélia Derely and Christophe Léger, both wanted to participate. »

In the motivation file, she mentioned “the importance of books and comics to me, from my earliest childhood. My parents knew how to bring me books and arouse my interest in reading since childhood”. Her arguments convinced the jury, as well as the choice to associate young talents, with a promising background: “Ophelia has notions of processing clay and decoration, and Christophe Léger has mastered a technique of transferring printed pages to the clay. It could be something grand to represent the books. First model, then enriched with texts and transferred images. “, continues Charlotte Poulsen.

Monumental work

Selected from among the last three candidates, Bornois convinced in May with their model on a 80 x 40 cm terracotta tile.
The modeling of the fresco lasted two and a half months. The design was quite complicated, it had to be cut into tiles, the fresco measured 5.60 mx 2.60. There remained the slow drying time. Then the two firings: a biscuit, at 900°C, enameling, then a second firing at high temperature, at 1,280°C. The work continued until the end of December 2021. And the fresco could be put up in May 2022.

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To accomplish this mission, the potters adapted their workshop and created a tile dryer. “At no time were we able to spread the whole project, notes Charlotte Poulsen, we worked in parts. And it is only little by little, cooking after cooking, that we perceived the work as a whole. To fully visualize it, I had to remove all the furniture from my living room! It was Christmas 2021. The work finished, Charlotte Poulsen has a thought for Bernard Rousseau, former chairman of CdC, at the head of the project. She kept him informed of the progress of the production and regularly sent him pictures.

Symbolic choices

At the time of the dedication, the potter returns to the flash of the fresco, The Man Reading, to the book his character is holding, a novel by Victor Hugo, The Man Laughing… in perfect context with space as the media library bears the name Victor Hugo. And to add that the choice of the book and the author was discussed: “I suggested authors, a Scandinavian, Marguerite Duras, books for children, books from other countries, a local author; and someone alive, like Jean-Christophe Rufin and his book on Jacques Cœur… We couldn’t get everyone to agree! The fresco appears on the wall in the media library, the old school, at the entrance to the performance hall, in the courtyard.

Looking back, the artist believes that “this work can speak to many people who are living beings, and we look at what is written in books. Everything we put has a meaning. We are in a time where people are reading less but looking at screens more. During Covid many people started reading… Ideas entered their subconscious, there are days when they come out…”

Herve Martin

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