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outside the box

Owner of Saint-Tropez Polo Club, Corinne Schuler, brings her passion for new contemporary art outside into the beautiful grounds of her club

Contemporary art has always been a great love of mine. I collect photographic works and paintings, and am also deeply fascinated by sculpture. However, it is a form of art I know very little about, so when the idea came up to turn the magnificent grounds of the Polo Club Saint-Tropez into a visitor friendly attraction, a sculpture exhibition seemed like the perfect solution. At the polo club we are always thinking of services, other than polo, we can offer to our visitors - we have the restaurant and bar, the kids’ playground, the boutique and events marquee… and now finally, art! Knowing our clients’ interests I am positive the exhibition will be a huge success, plus it is wonderful to be able to offer artists the opportunity to showcase their masterpieces outdoors, among such vast, breathtaking surroundings. By forcing art into a confined space you can lose so much in terms of its beauty and its impact on the viewer.

I enlisted the help of the club’s director, Jean Dominique Gontrand, and Valérie Penven, the exhibition’s curator, who were entrusted with turning part of the club’s 60-acre terrain into a magnificent backdrop for a permanent exhibition of figurative and non-figurative works of art from 18 June to the end of September 2010. Taking into account both the dimensions of the natural space and the proportions of the artworks, the idea was to design a trail that would lead visitors along a sequence of sculptures. The pieces were to gradually develop in size, from the small to the monumental, and each sculpture was to be positioned in a place that enhanced the mood and spirit of its design.

Selecting artists was a task left in the capable hands of Valérie Penven. It was no easy mission as we wanted the works of art to complement each other and their environs while each remaining totally unique. In the end, 13 artists made the final cut: Jean-Yves Lechevallier, Alain Boullet, Marion Bürklé, Jacky Coville, Philippe Pastor, Florence Jacquesson, Nicolas Lavarenne, Remy Tassou, Celia Gouveiac, Bruno Lucchi, Bernard Reyboz, Manser and Ali Ben Messaoud. Each one of the artists, all of whom have a passion for larger forms of sculpture that thrive in big spaces, shows a great diversity in their approach to material and form.

Among some of the more eye-catching artworks on display are a dazzling blue and gold life-sized horse statue (pictured) by former street artist, Manser, and an iridescent steel tree sculpture made of recycled printer rollers. The ‘B-Tree’ is the brainchild of Remy Tassou, one of the more experimental artists in the exhibition, who has gained international fame for his pioneering use of obsolete computer parts. I love that his sculpture, although organic in form, is assembled from electronic waste.

Another remarkable work of art along the trail is Philippe Pastor’s ‘Burned Trees’. His free-standing sculptures were created from actual trees taken from the Garde Freinet forest in Southern France, which had burned in 2003 in forest fires, caused by negligence or arsonists. Pastor, in a bid to promote the importance of environmental responsibility, personally collected each tree, before sculpting and painting the blackened trunks. They are very beautiful and emotive pieces, which I hope, like the rest of the exhibition, will bring visitors a huge amount of pleasure.

‘Les Sentiers de la Sculpture’ ends 30 September 2010. Contact Valérie Penven, +33 06 1193 9637

By forcing art into confined spaces, you lose so much in terms of its beauty