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Gerald Finot, Le jardin des deux mondes (Garden of the two worlds)

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About the Artist/Site

Born in 1954 in Vouziers, Gerald Finot left school early and was trained as a car mechanic. As a young man, he travelled the roads of France, Italy, and Spain, singing songs as he accompanied himself on the guitar, supporting himself through odd jobs. After he returned tohis homeland, he settled down in Quatre-Champs, a small village with some 200 inhabitants.

Although he had no art training in an art school, Finot thought that he could supplement the meagre income he earned from singing in local bars by becoming an artist. He began sculpting out of wood, metal, and stone, adding discarded objects he found along the roads or rescued from garbage dumps to create vertical structures. Finot describes his creations aslîlots d’objets (islands of objects),” and covered some of his totems with recycled automobile oil. Installed in the garden of his house, these creations gradually have transformed the site into the art environment he calls the “Garden of the Two Worlds.” 

The concept of “two worlds” may have various meanings; one may refer to his creations vis-à-vis the world of literature, as evidenced by the many citations from well-known authors reproduced on panels in the garden. But the concept may also refer to “the real” versus “the imaginary,” implying that what has been discarded in the real world has become an object of imagination in his hands. Important works within the garden include The House of the Fairies, The Fairground, and Walking Man.

Finot’s exuberant use of found objects to create works in vertical format finds parallels in art environments not only in France but worldwide; however, his handling of large components, such as bikes and refrigerators, as well as the association of the sculptures with literary and musical themes, give the constructions their own character. Travelling through France, Finot has visited many art environments, and has referenced and paid homage to creator-builders such as Chomo, Pierre Avezard or Raymond Moralès through some of his imagery. Linking to these important artists, to the world of classical French prose and poetry, and to the musical tradition of the French chanson, gives the garden a very special character.

~Henk van Es/Sophie Lepetit

Update: During 2016 it was reported that the site had a disorganized, cluttered impression: many of the vertical creations had been overturned and a tree had been blown down. Gérald Finot confirmed that a violent storm had ravaged the site. He was upset and depressed, and had not yet decided whether he would restore the Garden of the Two Worlds or sell the property.
 
~Henk van Es



Map and site information

6 Rue des Vignes
Quatre-Champs, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Latitude/Longitude: 49.442236 / 4.762009

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