Monday, December 2, 2013


An unusual exhibition in the pigeon loft of the 12th-century Normandie dungeon tower at the Château de la Roche Guyon. Artist Jeanne Lacombe stuffed photos of pigeons into roosting holes carved into the medieval limestone chamber. The casual observer would think that the photos were placed in the holes to prevent live pigeons from taking up residence in the dovecote, although the installation, smacking of conceptual art, is a part of a program establishing the château as a lieu for contemporary artists to expose their works. A musée éphémère. In her text accompanying the display, Mme Lacombe draws a parallel between unwanted pigeons and itinerants and illegal immigrants.

During WWII Rommel occupied the Château La Roche-Guyon, which from its origins was built into the chalk cliff overlooking the Seine, 66 kilometres northwest of Paris. Through the centuries the site has evolved in layers; descending from the first ancient troglodyte fortress at the top of the cliff down to the construction of its renaissance château, then later its 18th-century stables. A careful walk up the 250-step tunnel, excavated in the Middle Ages to form a stairway to the top of the dungeon tower, affords a commanding and panoramic view of the river valley and the bordering Normandie countryside.

un pigeonnier:  a dovecote, a pigeon house or loft
un sans domicile fixe: a homeless person, a person without a fixed domicile or permanent residence; an itinerant; commonly called an SDF
cataloguer quelqu'un:  to catalogue or pigeon-hole someone
un musée éphémère:  ephemeral museum; i.e. a temporary museum

©2013 P.B. Lecron

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