Récupérer le sacré cœur

Retrieve the Sacred Heart

Intervention at Couvent Levat/ Atelier Yuxtapox.

Curator Project from Gael Lefeubre. Marseille, 2018

For 200 years, the Levat Convent was home to the cloistered nuns Victims of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a religious order founded in the 19th Century. These sisters decided to relocate in 2016 and, in that process, they felt the need to destroy the objects representative of their identity that they were not taking with them. So, they dug a hole in the center of the garden, broke and burned all those relics, and then buried what was left.

With the documentation gathered and the archive generated during my first visit to the Convent (17-22 March 2018), I drew some conclusions that were the foundational premises for the creation of this piece.

The intervention was carried out between May 15 and June 15 of 2018. It consisted in the juxtaposition of symbolic actions and rituals, in a sort of confrontation amongst them, that the environment would reconcile and bring together over time:

1/ I first proceeded to unearth the fragments and remains of what was burned and buried in the center of the garden, and this resulted in a big hole on the ground.

2/ I then cut down a dead pine located at the edge of the garden. The tree had died from poisoning, as it appeared when digging out containers filled with medications and batteries that had been buried in between its roots.

3/ I then placed the tree upside-down inside the hole, and, on the raised trunk I sculpted a female version of Christ, with no arms, burnt and nailed to the very wood it came from.

4/ The sculpture and what was left of the tree where then wrapped with the fragments and remains of objects found in the hole, tied up with ropes impregnated with organic matter, and some fruits were hung to the ensemble, that were intended to decompose in a short frame of time, to offer their fall and return to the hole as a possibility for redemption.

5/ A white rose garden was planted at the sculpture’s feet, along with plant seeds, to offer as well, in turn, their growth, as a possibility for redemption.

Retrieve the Sacred Heart.