Tina Bloch & Michel Denancé
The simplest act of building is surely to lay two stones on top of each other, or, for the seaside surveyor, to build with sand. Curator Tina Bloch has invited 35 European architects or architectural pairs to return to this pure joy and the instinctive gestures of the builder of the ephemeral. Leaving behind their computers and site meetings, the creators played with shovels on the foreshore of the beaches of Deauville and Benerville. Between sky, land and sea, sand architectures have risen, giant mandalas have unfolded, labyrinths with no way out other than their disappearance under the waves have experienced a fleeting but intense existence.
Both land art and sand painting, with wet sand as the only material, the proposals are surprisingly diverse. The beach is in turn a building site – where, with embankments and excavations, monumental volumes will soon dominate future bodies of water – and a blank page to be scratched and scribbled on to the horizon. Some architects embark on the adventure with a project in mind, others trust their inspiration once their feet are in the sand. Some arrive with their equipment, others arrive with their hands in their pockets. On ground that has dried out a little, they have at best five hours to work between two tides, more often three hours or less if the weather is bad. The arrival of the water is watched for with the fear of premature destruction and the hope of an epiphany. Mystery of the tide…
Working for architects for 30 years, Michel Denancé has photographed models, building sites, projects just delivered or pieces of heritage, sometimes sites, wastelands, gardens, pieces of the city. He thought he had tasted every possible theme. Wrongly, because in spring 2019 a new subject appeared: the architect at the beach.
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