Sud-Ouest, April 17. 2019

Royan: Gilles Viandier veils the heritage to reveal it.

Architecture: The Artichem association invites on Saturday the artist Gilles Viandier to realize a street art performance, “Blue Street Pantone” – by Ronan Chérel.

Candlelight tours of the Notre-Dame church, bike tours to discover the local architectural gems, workshops that are both fun and educational to educate the young public … The municipal Culture and Heritage Department finds ways to diversify the themes of its own program to discover what constitutes one of the undeniable riches of the resort.

Since 2004, the Artichem association has also set itself the mission of promoting this heritage of the Reconstruction. During the Month of Architecture, in addition to the City’s “official” program, Artichem is also focusing its spotlight on certain aspects of 1950s architecture. The bias is sometimes disconcerting, like this walk through the city with botanist Anne Richard on April 6., followed greedily by the participants, ready to brave the showers to learn about the “adventices” of concrete”, not to mention “weeds”, actually less “bad” than one would think, considering the tasting organized afterwards.

Trizay excited: President of Artichem, the former cultural assistant Véronique Willmann defends this original approach. Architecture through botany yesterday, architecture in “movement” tomorrow, well, Saturday to be precise… Originally an architect, Gilles Viandier ended up choosing another lever to “talk” about his passion: art.

“He began by making interventions in urban environments, then he became a dancer, street artist”, Véronique Willmann succinctly describes him, literally thrilled by the artist’s performance that the president of Artichem attended last November. Gilles Viandier has metamorphosed the Abbey of Trizay during this performance, at the crossroads between contemporary dance and the monument’s dressing, with a great deal of canvas in pure and bright yellow Lycra.

“Corporeal and visual”: Gilles Viandier obviously did not invent this technique. One keeps in mind the complete packaging of the Pont-Neuf in Paris, by the plastic artist Christo in 1985. A member of an association of artists from the Pays Royannais, Promenade d’artiste, with Denis Tricot and Mathieu Harzo, Gilles Viandier deploys more modestly, during his in situ interventions, one or several 30-meter long canvas(s), “thin and long veils, but also very elastic, which he uses as an apparatus, or which he deploys behind him, as if to symbolize a trace… It still happens him to involve the spectators too.”

These ephemeral installations and performances pursue the same objective as a guided tour of a remarkable building, to lead the spectator to discover it, to immerse himself in it, “but it is not always necessary to have encyclopedic explanations to understand a place. Gilles Viandier’s performances offer a visual and physical apprehension”, defines Véronique Willmann.

“Another angle”: For Royan, Gilles Viandier has chosen a particular color, “royal blue, the color of the city”, of which he will drapes sites previously suggested by the members of Artichem, which the artist will visit again on Thursday, to prepare his interventions, two in number, “We would have liked to propose two other performances on Sunday, but unfortunately our action is entirely voluntary, the money we have is devoted solely to finance meetings such as these performances or the unusual visits that we propose”.

However, the association has just had its request for a grant, 1 150 euros, refused by the City. “It’s a pity” regrets Véronique Willmann, who nevertheless assures that Artichem has never wanted to compete with the Culture and Heritage Department, but on the contrary to propose a discovery of local architecture from another angle”.