Since immersing myself in the Languedoc region of France in 2013, I have experienced the seasonal rhythm of the wine making process. The transformation of the vines in this landscape, from winter gaunt to summer exuberance, is as dramatic as the magical process of turning grapes into wine.
After helping with the harvest in autumn, the pruning process in the new year, and the recent bottling of the 2015 vintage, I have come to know the humble ‘sarments de vigne‘. This is a new art material for me – akin to a series of pencil strokes. I am exploring ways to join and manipulate them into sculptural forms.
These slender branches are dedicated ‘soldiers’ defending this empire of wine. Traditionally discarded after their service, my work will elevate them beyond the reach of the bonfire or the mulching machine.
Each variety of vine has its own distinct character and structural properties. Carignan is generally cooperative, Grenache intransigent, while Syrah is naturally sinuous, and seems to be most compliant under the artist’s grip.
I started my artist’s residency on April 20th at La Grange de Bouys, Roujan. My hosts, and vignerons, Florence and Stéphane Monmousseau, have given me free reign to explore their grenier, machine sheds, vineyards, and beautiful stone mazet, all located on their bio-dynamic wine estate near Roujan, Herault. I am using the materials and tools of the vineyard to create a number of site-specific sculpture installations.
For the moment, I am head down working. The mid-May vernissage (by invitation) will debut my “Sarments de Vie” project. Will share the results soon.