EX­HI­BI­TION Ri­vers and vi­neyards

Bordeaux Moments - - Dossier / Focus -

Since the crea­tion of a large port in an­cient times, the fate of wine and sea­fa­ring have al­ways been di­rect­ly lin­ked to Bor­deaux. Du­ring the Bor­deaux Wine Fes­ti­val- which has conscious­ly wi­de­ned its out­look to­wards the ri­vers and oceans- the sha­red ad­ven­tures of the main lo­cal eco­no­my (wine) and sea­fa­ring are to be told by an ex­hi­bi­tion on the quays. Over a do­zen steps, learn through text, maps, pho­to­graphs, en­gra­vings and dra­wings about the re­la­tion­ship bet­ween wine and sea­fa­ring, one that has las­ted 20 cen­tu­ries. Thurs­day 14th June to Mon­day 18th June: 10.30am-8pm. On the quays in front of Quin­conces. Free.

Biar­ritz, Cher­bourg, Dun­kerque and Brest all have one, what made you want to make ano­ther mu­seum for sea­fa­ring or the sea? The oceans, the un­der­wa­ter world, ports and na­vi­ga­tion, the Na­vy… each one has its own spe­cia­li­ty. Our am­bi­tions aren’t the same; we’re dea­ling with the sea AND sea­fa­ring. We’re loo­king to of­fer ma­ny pers­pec­tives, to ex­plore the least known co­los­sus of na­ture, to des­cribe the com­plex na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship bet­ween man and the oceans and to share the concerns that we have for this im­mense li­ving mass that oc­cu­pies 70% of this earth, a pla­net which will be so dee­ply af­fec­ted by the oceans’ fu­ture.

How have you ful­filled these mis­sions? The “MMM” re­pre­sents one of the ma­jor pri­vate cultu­ral in­vest­ments of the de­cade and it’s of na­tio­nal im­por­tance. With over 7000m2, the ex­hi­bi­tion spaces are twice as large as the Louis Vuit­ton Foun­da­tion’s. Ho­we­ver, first and fo­re­most, this is the re­sult of ha­ving a team built on so­lid part­ner­ships which have gua­ran­teed the co­he­rence of what we’ve crea­ted. We work par­ti­cu­lar­ly clo­se­ly with the uni­ver­si­ties of La Ro­chelle and Bor­deaux and a lab at the French Na­tio­nal Centre for Scien­ti­fic Re­search; it’s a work in pro­gress which will see our col­lec­tions constant­ly evolve thanks to the in­put of scien­ti­fic re­search. It is a space for tel­ling sto­ries. As soon as you cross the thre­shold, you are im­mer­sed. It is set up in a chro­no- the­ma­tic way: from the birth of the oceans and the birth of life to their pre­ser­va­tion, tou­ching on tales of a small and grand scale along the way: fi­shing, sea­fa­ring, the great ex­plo­ra­tions, mi­gra­tions, off- shore ra­cing… the sea is it­self al­so a sto­ry of dan­gers and dreams, conquests and em­pires, tech­niques and in­no­va­tions, eco­no­mi­cal ex­changes, cultu­ral cross­roads. These sto­ries will be told using things such as small boats, mo­dels that are metres long, com­mon ob­jects, works of art and screens. The ex­hi­bi­tion so­me­times adopts a spe­ci­fic fo­cus, such as the sec­tion on Jules Verne and his Nau­ti­lus, in­tro­du­cing mo­der­ni­ty.

I am not a fan of ar­chi­tec­ture that aims to dazzle at any cost. What’s im­por­tant for me is the uti­li­ty of the de­si­gn. Though a zig­gou­rat de­si­gn might ap­pear com­pli­ca­ted, it is not at all in rea­li­ty. The ar­chi­tec­tu­ral stroll is ve­ry ea­sy, the mar­kers are ob­vious. The han­ging gar­dens give an ex­te­rior walk­way which wraps around the in­ter­ior spaces. In­side, the le­vels that would nor­mal­ly be in an awk­ward po­si­tion are lin­ked by light wells and flows. Each pla­teau is strip­ped down and re­mo­ved so that they can be seen as vast open spaces from the out­side. The pu­blic will be both out­side and in­side at the same time, seeing se­ve­ral floors at once, and ma­king their way through as they seem fit, thus sha­ping their own ex­pe­rience. The ar­chi­tec­ture’s strength comes from the mul­ti­pli­ci­ty of pers­pec­tives that it creates.

The mu­seum ema­nates from that. A two thou­sand year-old his­to­ry that de­ve­lops across the whole space. While Bor­deaux was in­fluen­ced by glo­bal his­to­ry, its own pro­vides us with a win­dow from which to look at the rest of the world.

Put the 15th June in your diary, as we’ll be ope­ning the tem­po­ra­ry ex­hi­bi­tion spaces with a large Mo­net ex­hi­bi­tion in part­ner­ship with Musée Mar­mot­tan Mo­net. There are going to be 41 of his works, ran­ging from his por­traits to the qua­si abs­tract works, in­clu­ding ones from his fa­mous Wa­ter Li­lies and Houses of Par­lia­ment se­ries. As for the other rooms, they will be ope­ning lit­tle by lit­tle up over the rest of the year. You’ll al­so be able to see the ori­gi­nal ma­nus­cript for Twen­ty Thou­sand Leagues Un­der The Sea but la­ter in the year.

“There is not one in the whole school of 1830 that paints a land­scape like him… and then there’s the wa­ter! He is the Ra­phael of pain­ting wa­ter. He knows its mo­ve­ments, its depths, its rhythms.” Edouard Ma­net’s praise un­der­lines the ori­gi­nal in­fluence and per­ma­nent pre-emi­nence of wa­ter in Mo­net’s work. When it isn’t the main ele­ment, such as in Im­pres­sion, Sun­rise- a pain­ting that gave its name to the im­pres­sio­nist mo­ve­ment, si­gna­ling an “of­fi­cial” be­gin­ning for mo­der­ni­ty in art- wa­ter of­ten in­ter­feres or forms the coun­ter­point, as in Wa­ter Li­lies. This in­fluence was born in Le Havre where Mo­net grew up. It was the sea that first gave him a sense of spec­tacle, overw­hel­ming the senses, tou­ching him with the dee­pest of fee­lings and it ser­ved as his bench­mark. The spec­tacle of the sea was fo­re­ver chan­ging ac­cor­ding to tides, the wea­ther, the light. Cour­bet said as much when re­plying to Dau­bi­gny about one of his stu­dies: “it is not a stu­dy of the sea so much as of time”. Mo­net took pains to make this dis­tinc­tion over the fi­nal thir­ty­five years of his life, ma­king a num­ber of se­ries on the same sub­ject in hun­dreds of dif­ferent pain­tings, each from a par­ti­cu­lar mo­ment on a par­ti­cu­lar day: Hays­tacks, Po­plars, Rouen Ca­the­dral, Houses of Par­lia­ment and, of course, his Wa­ter Li­lies. It is, the­re­fore, not by chance that this “Ra­phael of the wa­ter” has been cho­sen as the inau­gu­ral ex­hi­bi­tion for le Musée Mer Ma­rine. 41 can­vasses and 13 dra­wings will be on dis­play from the Pa­ri­sian mu­seum of Mar­mot­tan Mo­net, which holds the lar­gest Mo­net col­lec­tion in the world. The student of Eu­gène Bou­din, the fa­ther of im­pres­sio­nism, the ' na­tu­ra­list' pain­ter of mo­der­ni­ty, the ' ta­chist' wor­king to­wards abs­tract art: it goes wi­thout saying that this mee­ting with Mo­net is not to be mis­sed. ‘Mas­ter­pieces of the Mar­mot­tan Mo­net Mu­seum’ ('Chefs d'oeuvre du Musée Mar­mot­tan Mo­net') 15th June to 26th Au­gust 2018. Open eve­ry day. Musée Mer Ma­rine 89 rue des Étran­gers 33 300 Bor­deaux www.mu­see­de­la­mer­bor­deaux.fr

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