Studio Orta - Spirits of the Huveaune | La fée du vieux moulin - Gyptis

Spirits of the Huveaune | La fée du vieux moulin - Gyptis

13 octobre 2012
Marseille, valley of the Huveaune, Public sculpture commission

"Five public sculptures – Spirits of the Huveaune – take the form of female characters along the valley of the river Huveaune, situated between the spring, deep in the Provence Alps and the estuary at the Mediterranean Sea port of Marseille. The sculptures, based on historical texts, legends and stories about the valley, recount the feminine presence associated with the river. The legendry, supernatural and the imaginary that perpetuate the history of the river Huveaune are the sources of inspiration." Lucy + Jorge Orta

The Huveaune coastal river in eastern Provence originates in the Massif de la Sainte Baume and flows all the way to the Mediterreanean Sea at Marseille. Although it has long facilitated myriad human activities from agriculture to industry, the Huveaune is now little known and often ill-treated. Eager to highlight the river's rich natural and cultural heritage and to strengthen the bonds among the neighborhoods and municipalities that share it, the Association Rives et Cultures has commissioned a work by artists Lucy + Jorge Orta under the auspices of Fondation de France’s Nouveaux commanditaire and Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture.

Titled Le Chemin des fées, the artists have devised a parcours of five sculptures that pay homage to the Huveaune's presence in four municipalities: la Fée de la source (Marie) – the Martellière, Saint-Zacharia; la Fée du pont (Ubelka) – Moulin Saint-Claude, Auriol; la Fée des berges (Manon) – Îlot des Berges Park, Aubagne; la Fée du vieux moulin (Gyptis) – Vieux Moulin Park, Marseille; and la Fée du lac (Ophélie) – Borély Park, Marseille.

These fairies, dreaming or alert, melancholic or resolved, invest these sites like genii loci and weave an unprecedented link between the past and the present. They invite visitors to discover the Huveaune through stories and to invent new ways to live alongside it. Referring to the universal water cycle, Le Chemin des fées aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues related to the river’s fate, thereby raising the question of water management in the future, here and elsewhere.