¬ Burkhard Straßmann, Bremen
Translation Office Bauer, Bremen
¬ A village is not
far, there are two projects growing at the académieGalan in the south west
of France: the "Laotian Village" and "...steadfast..."
are co-operations between the académieGalan in Galan (F) and the School
of Art in Bremen (D)
A village is not a town. Someone settles and builds,
someone digs and founds, someone places his tent somewhere. From the distance
an old tractor approaches hissing, towing a construction wagon and there is one
more person already. First they have to skip over stinging nettles to visit each
other, then trampled paths spring up between the little houses, huts and earth
holes and one day they meet for a big discussion: What shall we do with the space
in-between? A piece of stamped clay, a few metres of box tree hedge, a rose, which
needs to be watered every day - that could after all be the beginning of something.
Of something communal. Maybe even social.
The Laotian village is neither
Laotian, nor a village. However, at least it exists. You can go there. You may
go there. Maybe you should go there. Since 1997, this non-village has existed
as an art project of the Bremen School of Art. Since then it has been quietly
developing in a particularly marginal location - on the south west border of France,
on the border of the Pyrenees, on the border of "Jacobs Path", which
takes pilgrims to Santiago di Compostella, on the outskirts of the completely
remote little village, Galan, with its 800 residents and on the banks of the mostly
very small little river Baisole. The Laotian village is the first project of the
Bremen art professor, Rolf Thiele, and the work of art académieGalan on
this six hectare piece of land, this meadow, the terrain which descends to the
mostly very small river Baisole, that was dedicated to art. Or rather deconstruction
in art. Or even better: the non-art as art.
A slope, a meadow, a river bend,
several objects standing around which, when looked at more closely, can turn out
to be accommodation, graves, towers, memorials or magic building constructions.
In the Laotian village in Galan artists meet art students, combatants in the battle
for a lively art term people, who are electrified by the term "aesthetic
of overtaxing". People, who love art, rub shoulders with those who do not
know exactly, but want to know. You can live, work artistically, eat, argue, drink
and become enslaved by wild thoughts. It concerns a provisional discourse, which
at the same time is an individual serious matter. It can take place in Galan and
it is even the rule that you lose a feeling of security, move away from efficiency
and productivity, lose your material and quite without a concept press the restart
button. This is why Galan is a place of desire. The wild thoughts permit the inconceivable:
that there could be something authentic; that art could appear from the non-art
, which heals the separations of the modern age; that thinking and art could become
one and thinking does not mean cold dry analysis, but entering "into the
labyrinth, allowing a labyrinth to emerge, to be lost in aisles, which only exist
because we incessantly dig these", as the philosopher, Cornelius Castoriadis,
put it into words.
Now it concerns the spaces in between. Or to be more
imprecise: countryside. The second Galan project is called "...steadfast..."
artists' garden in Galan. Some also speak of the labyrinth thinking. Here
it concerns nature between the culture and the wonderful chance to make the work
with vegetation almost completely spared by customary art access an issue: Garden
art is B art, scorned and does not first have to be deconstructed to non-art in
order to be non-art. Maybe, because the material is so stubborn as it actually
lives itself. It is subject to its own genetic laws, grows, transforms, implements,
leaves, decays. The material of garden art is difficult to plan. You have to speak
about the weather. You even have to be humble, attentive, you have to take care
of it. The artistic-aesthetic examinations thus cover the own way of life. A project
full of tempting risks. And with a surprising level of responsibility as the artist/gardener
has to deal with anachronistic long periods of time.
The project "...steadfast..."
is designed on a European level in the sense that it takes place in Bremen, Riga
and Galan and has been running since Summer 2005. Besides gardens and interventions
into the landscape an archive, a magazine, a film, an Internet page and an edition
are planned. However, only one thing is certain so far that all participants have
the unique opportunity to lose themselves in the labyrinths of their own and the
prevailing Laotian-chaotic thinking there. As labyrinth art is a subversive discipline
of landscape planning, it is potential art: "Only that which is impossible
can happen" (Thiele).