Cultural treasures were everywhere I looked during my trip to Marseille-Provence, France. Ranging from classical to contemporary, these pieces further solidifying why it’s the 2013 European Capital of Culture. One of those gems is an installation in Salon-de-Provence called “Double Disc Hallowed Out by the Roofs” by Swiss-born artist Felice Varini. If you want to see it, book your travel now because it will be on display until Dec. 1, 2013.
Inspiration for the Installation Can you say “WOW!”? The artist’s objective was to create a piece highlighting the typical rooftops of Salon-de-Provence. Red was selected because it’s the most suitable color for the city. Can you guess what the double discs represent? That’s right, it simulates the view of looking at the city through binoculars. If you have a chance to visit this lovely area of France be sure to notice the rooftops change color with the moving sun throughout the day.
It Took a Village One hundred twenty owners were asked permission to have their building part of the project and 110 accepted including a church. Why did the others resist? A combination of reasons including politics, the artist’s technique, fear of damage to the building and dislike of contemporary art. Although it looks like paint the art is aluminum stuck to the sides of each building which took one month to install.
Why doesn’t the city keep the installation in place after December? Several buildings have a historical classification and would lose that if the artwork remained. Plus, as explained, there’s a difference between a 10-month installation and a lifetime.
Best Viewed from Château de l’Empéri “Double Disc Hallowed Out by the Roofs” is best viewed from the north terrace of Château de l’Empéri, a 9th-century castle listed as a monument historique (national heritage site) by the French Ministry of Culture.
Yeah, that’s Why the Name’s Familiar Although I did not have time to tour the castle I admired the lush garden in the center court which was developed to celebrate the 500th birthday of Michel de Nostredame who lived in Salon from 1547 to 1566, the year of this death. If the name de Nostradame isn’t familiar perhaps Nostradamus, the world’s most famous author of prophecies, is. It’s the name frequently splashed over covers of American tabloids at least once a year. Oh, I know you read them in the grocery checkout line. Don’t worry, I don’t judge yet I digress…the plants in the castle’s garden are mentioned in Nostradamus’ recipes and are ringed with braided chestnut boughs.
I wonder if Nostradamus predicted this splash of cultural color. Hmm.
The road, or shall I say a plane, recently led me to Marseille-Provence, 2013 European Capital of Culture as a guest of Atout France and their tourism partners. This is the one in a series of several posts about this trip to France. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #visitmp2013.
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