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In situ artworks

Living by numbers, AIDSmonument Amsterdam

December 2016, Amsterdam

Le Trésor de la cathédrale d'Angoulême

September 2016, Angoulême Cathédral Saint-Pierre

Living by numbers, AIDSmonument Amsterdam

December 2016, Amsterdam

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Living by numbers, AIDSmonument Amsterdam

Private commissions
Amsterdam
12/1/16 - 12/6/16

On the first day of December, World Aids Day,  the artwork Living by numbers, AIDSmonument Amsterdam, created by Jean-Michel Othoniel will be unveiled. The monument, a 7-meter-high abacus will count down to the year 2030, the date agreed upon by the international community to end AIDS.



Living by numbers
"This monument reflects our thoughts, showing that the challenge is inward in the face of illness, showing that we must never give up. The hand-blown beads on the abacus are joyful, colourful, even festive, symbolzing hope and expressing thanks to all those who have kept us alive (lovers, friends, relatives, doctors…). 


The abacus evokes not only the number of people who are ill and who have perished, but also the number of people involved in the struggle, the number of hours and the amount of energy given over to the fight against AIDS for so many years. 


It is also a tribute to the city of Amsterdam, its activity, its harbor, its many commercial and cultural exchanges, its transactions, its wealth, all that has arrived there by sea over the past centuries. The large bench facing the sea offers a place and time for contemplation. It is an invitation to look toward the horizon, to hope for better times.


Thinking by number
Relying on each other. Relying first on oneself and recognising all those who count and have counted. For all these years, all we have done is count: the number of days since AIDS was announced, the number of people who live with HIV, the number of victims, the number of people who have survived, the hopes, the hours of treatments, the hours of happiness. It also represents the strength and determination of those involved in this struggle. 


The beads also allow us to visualise the number of hours that have been devoted to the cause. This huge abacus will be a sign of hope showing that there will be an end to the counting. This monument exists so that we may not forget that we must continue to fight."

Jean-Michel Othoniel


 


 

Le Trésor de la cathédrale d'Angoulême

September 2016, Angoulême Cathédral Saint-Pierre

Discover the artwork

Le Trésor de la cathédrale d'Angoulême

Public commissions
Angoulême Cathédral Saint-Pierre
9/30/16
See publication

Le Trésor de la cathédrale d’Angoulême, designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel, was inaugurated on September 30, 2016


Guided tours of le Trésor are organized by Via Patrimoine.
Inscription on Angoulême Museum's website:
Tel : +33 (0)5 45 95 79 88
musee-angouleme.fr


In 2008, the Regional Cultural Affairs Directorate in Aquitaine - Limousin - Poitou-Charentes (DRAC) undertook the restoration of the Cathedral Saint-Pierre of Angoulême. They initiated an ambitious project to restore the edifice to its Romanesque state, in keeping with its nineteenth-century renovation by French architect Paul Abadie, known for designing the Sacré Cœur basilica in Paris. Inside, the DRAC and the clerical authorities also wanted to select objects from its collection of liturgical art, from a little-known period reflecting the nineteenth-century’s religious fervor, and present them to the public in areas never before opened to the public. For this public art commission, which also received support from ENGIE, they chose Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose work links history and contemporary art and has an auratic quality. Othoniel has been working on the project for more than eight years.

Over the past few years, Othoniel has been working in three of the cathedral’s non-holy areas into a treasury for liturgical art, collaborating with celebrated artisans to transform them into a highly personal world. Inspired by the interlacing geometric patterns and colors in Romanesque art, he decorated the floor and walls with intricate patterns, created monumental stained-glass windows in various shades of blue, the color of the Virgin’s mantle, and designed elaborate beaded furniture to hold the treasury’s art objects and statuary. While utterly contemporary, Othoniel’s multidimensional artwork, which received financial support from the center for French historical monuments, also adheres strictly to the standards for preserving architectural landmarks. Decorative and dramatic, this spectacular three-tiered work embraces both the intimate and the sublime, and restores ideas of man, the universal and the sacred to the heart of the cathedral’s Trésor.

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