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Art in
public spaces

Jean Denant


La Traversée

Public order
Sculpture - Sculpture/installation
2014
Construction
Mur dun blockhaus de la ville de Sète
Promenade du Maréchal Leclerc
34200 Sète
Project manager
Ville de Sète
Contact
Website
This work can be accessed at any time, day and night, from 1st January to 31st December, 24/7.
Free admission
Accessible to disabled people
Théâtre de la Mer parking lot
5-minute walk from the Théâtre de la Mer
The path (the crossing) of the Mediterranean

Along the road between the Théâtre de la mer and the Corniche quarter, one makes out the outline of a blockhouse, a single section of a concrete wall, overrun with asphodels or crowned with blossoming agaves.
A long, rough wall, with construction planks still showing, as if built in a hurry, like the apartment blocks on the outskirts of cities in later years. It is almost unnoticeable, deserted, despised, and has often been used as a surface for unauthorized posting. It looks out onto the sea with its gray, now blind, eyes. That was its function, down in the Golfe du Lion : keeping watch over the Mediterranean.
Jean Denant inlayed a mirror, several meters long and made out of polished steel, into the wall of the blockhouse, facing the sea.
Presently, the concrete redoubt that one would have dismantled seems pierced with an opening, like a puddle of mercury, its silvery surface hiding ancient excavations.
A cutout of the Mediterranean shoreline which, clockwise, follows the shores of France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Spain. This silent map of the Mediterranean, the outline of which is the mental depiction of a vast landscape, in this case reflects the reality of its surroundings.
On the facing promenade, passers-by see themselves going past the mirror from north to south or conversely, under the blue line of the horizon when it meets the sky, according to the whims of the weather. As we go by, this specular work pulls us into the reflection of the Mediterranean, like the many souls who have inhabited it and still do. The sea at the center of the world is an expanse that is continuously travelled by the people who dwell on its shores.
Travels, migrations, exiles or amazing routes score this calm yet dangerous territory. And the mirror, a looking glass no doubt conceived on the volcanic banks of the Mediterranean, in Anatolia, perhaps with shiny obsidians, still inspires immemorial legends and inner journeys.

Philippe Saulle

— Interview with Jean Denant



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