« Art […] is a means of moving the greatest number of men by offering them a privileged image of common suffering and joys. Â» Albert Camus

It took a virus to disrupt our ways of life on a global scale. Yes, this forced confinement is in a way beneficial to us. It allows us to step aside, to stop running. Take the time to take the time : breathe more deeply, listen to the birds singing, dream and think about what’s really important for us and therefore for the Planet.

This global pandemic calls us to a deep reflection on our lifestyles, on what is really essential.

And speaking of deep reflection on our way of life, a former United Nations diplomat, Philippe Ardy, who became a humanist sculptor, understood it well. He has being taking action for a few years now. He dared to transform his life to put his thinking and his creative energy at the bedside of Planet Earth.

Through contemporary artPhilippe Ardy (creation) and Jean-Marc Blanchard (project management) wanted to convey an ecological and artistic message of safeguarding and preservation in favor of the planet.

It is through the talent of these two whistleblower artists that we can touch the suffering but also the strength of our planet earth by our imagination.

It was already in 2016. They made a driftwood sphere.

For these designer-artists, this wooden ball illustrates the fragility and beauty of our beautiful planet.

Its diameter: 3.50 m in height.

Its weight: 1.2 tonnes.

Its frame: driftwood and beaching wood.

Its name: Maritime sphere.

His arrival: smoothly and harmoniously on an oyster barge from the south end of the island of OlĂ©ron to Castel of d’OlĂ©ron.
Indeed, it was originally built and placed at the south end of the island of OlĂ©ron (Gatseau beach, at Saint-Trojan-les-Bains) in order to raise awareness of the erosion of this coast.

Indeed, the tip of this island has been threatened for a few years now, by very rapid erosion, ranging from 3 to 5 meters per year. As a result, trees fall into the sea, producing lots of beaching wood. 5 cubic meters of wood were required to complete this work.

Philippe Ardy’s artistic approach was to go out into the wild in search of natural materials to sublimate them and create a work of art. It reusesHe recycles. Philippe Ardy gives a second life to these noble materials, as he calls them, to raise awareness about the beauty of a simple piece of wood.

The art to challenge our nature. The art of warning about the state of the planet. Art allows reflection, even introspection. We see what we can see there. And our interpretation is part of the reflection of ourselves, which can sometimes be part of our unconscious. It’s a mirror of our soul.

The very way in which we can take the photograph of this ball tells a story. Our placement is the interpretation of what we feel, therefore what we want to transcribe.

Its location is just as symbolic: the castel walls of the Vauban fortress.

Its position : it culminates at around 15 meters high, thus defying strong winds from the north or south of the coast.

And it’s the last bright spot on the island. It is lit in blue from the inside and yellow from the outside, facing the sea.

Some will see our Planet Earth there, others a geometric shape made of driftwood, others a refuge structure to navigate the waves when the waters will have finally covered the land. Or even a ball of wool that we could unravel and return to nature. A rejection ball illustrating those which are rejected by certain birds. And precisely, this regurgitation phenomenon makes it possible to rebalance the pressure … similar to the pressure that the planet earth undergoes every single day.

That very day, there was a particularly strong wind. This ball seemed to me to be an invitation to meditation.

These emerging creatives are called Philippe and Jean-Marc.

Both have chosen an artist’s life. Philippe Ardy, an economist by training, a international civil servant at the United Nations, changed his professional direction by a burst of conscience, to be in agreement with his convictions. He is convinced that art is a universal language that can trigger deep reactions and reflections. He took the step of art to make each of us aware of the fragility of our territory. Planet Earth is taking on water !

Today this work of ecological art dominates as a challenge. As Philipe Ardy says  Â« This beaching wood which has become « the maritime sphere Â» intrinsically contains a multitude of other possible possibilities thus offering the hope of joining other shores, other worlds Â».

And who knows, maybe one day this driftwood sphere will be returned to nature and will roll on the waves until it disintegrates … Nature will remain an open-air museum.

So if you are passing through Rochefort, go to the Oleron fortress, you will discover the « Maritime sphere » made of driftwood. It was carried out as part of the biennial AMERS 2016 whose theme was : REFUGE.

I thank Philippe and Jean-Marc for their welcome in Philippe’s workshop. Thank you for taking time to answer my questions.

Pauline Rouillé

Go further :

Facebook page : Philippe Ardy 

Jean-Marc Blanchard : Dessinateur – Designer – Artiste peintre,  et CrĂ©ateur de dĂ©cors pour le spectacle vivant 6, rue Claude Debussy – Gibou – 17480  Le Château-d’OlĂ©ron   06 43 45 99 73

Anna, lent his voice for this English Podcast ! Enjoy ! She teaches English at her school in Singapor : group and individual lessons.

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