parois, 2007, beeswax tiles (4000), room size 12ft h x10ft w-12ft hx10ft w -12ft h 10ftw- 12 ft h x 10ft
parois is a permanent installation at the Musée Barthète, Boussan, France, a museum dedicated to the collection of historical tiles and contemporary art. While in residence at the museum, I had access to the large tile collection, and was able to visit the many medieval towns and farms close by. As well I was able to make several trips to the 10,000 year old Magdalenian Caves situated in the mountain ranges of the Pyrenées close to the museum. It is from these experiences that I was inspired to create a series of high relief tiles that resembled both the floral motifs repeated in the local 15th century tile collection and the stalagmites on the rock face in the caves. Beekeeping too is a big part of life in this part of France and fostered the use of beeswax as an architectural building material and so over 4000 tiles were cast from beeswax and a room at the museum was tiled from floor to ceiling. My intention was to create a sensory architecture triggering memories of place, real and imagined, and history both collective and individual. Sight, smell and touch all become agents of the skin and cast parois as an emotionally charged architectural envelope.
Selected Essays – Excerpts from a Conversation & La Chambre Des Catharis