City of Rochefort
To celebrate the centenary of Pierre Loti’s death: discover “La Maison des Mondes”, an original monumental work by Xavier de Richemont.
A path of luminous water links the projection of “Les Mondes” on the town hall to the projection of “La Maison” on the arch of the fountain in Place Colbert.
Running time: 22min 30sec
“For over 30 years, Pierre Loti and his travels have spoken to me and transported me. I consider my work to be that of an explorer, a painter of exoticism, a discoverer of extraordinary daily life. This incredible opportunity presents itself to those who venture off the beaten path, deepening their knowledge through experience and travel in order to share their findings with the widest audience.
From the magical plateaus of the Mexican Huichols (CarmeLight) to the last Inca Emperor in the northern Andes (Yuragachi), from the frozen shores of the St. Lawrence (Feu l’Indien) to the tropical banks of the Usumacinta (Yucama’ya’ab), from Jaipur to Kolkata (Bhargal), from San Antonio (The Saga) to Casablanca (Dar al Beida), my numerous journeys to unknown lands have fueled my taste for adventure and exploration, resulting in these landmark works.
My work suggests and narrates, through its structure, the richness of the worlds that visually unfold with their complexity, the density of accurate images, and their pictorial impact on the audience, expressed through the graphic vibrations of my painting and a musical score supporting inventive dramaturgy.
I seek to incorporate the unique aspects of each project, making them my own and offering an explicit and understandable interpretation for all audiences.
My work has the taste of unbridled discovery that ensures enduring artworks.”
The project “La Maison des Mondes” is written like a play, in one continuous flow. It is a narrative in three acts and seven scenes, with a prologue and epilogue. It features three festive interludes, short entr’actes that bring Loti back home, to the Maison.
Each scene represents Loti’s vision of a destination in the world, composed from his drawings, photographs, objects, and imagined settings dedicated to a undertaken voyage. The staging incorporates theater set techniques, with the functioning of the scenic space, entrances and exits, appearances, and set changes.
The action is sustained, the rhythm continuous, half a century of voyages, an endless harvest of suspended adventures, with a pencil, Canson paper, and camera always at hand.
A descriptive figuration, heavily repainted, of wild and architectural places, drawn, described, photographed, leaving a lasting impression. The added color, imagined in the drawing, the contrasting and solarized objects, create collages that give birth to paintings that convey impressions.
The journeys pass through the sea, which encircles the compositions. The water represents the departure to the distant lands of the world and the anticipated returns home. Over the sea, boats carrying Loti and fragments of his life, references from the past, and collected objects pass by.
The compositions vibrate with the forms and colors of an ever-changing, consistent, and constantly renewed sea. The exotic images within their maritime frames develop and evolve around a narrative where water is a perpetual call to movement.
The project consists of three independent geographical zones, not following a chronological order of travels, each referencing intense moments and adventures that left sentimental traces. The initial impressions in Rochefort and Navale are followed by impressions from Africa and then from Asia. The action takes us from the Charente delta to the Mediterranean, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea.
With each return to his homeland, the Maison fills up with new objects, new rooms, and new writings. Loti’s penchant for collecting materializes on his walls, where artifacts from his journeys are piled up haphazardly, resembling a contemporary sculpture.
The sailor rises in rank and age, the subject moves through time and across the globe, from childhood to death, a life filled with extravagance and exoticism, with regular returns to port until the final journey.
Pierre Loti, a theatrical mariner, born on the estuary, buried on the island.
Xavier de Richemont
© Xavier de Richemont 2023