pictures are screenprints from the video by Yvan Ducognon
published here with his permission
Pontcharra is a community of some 6500 inhabitants in the east of France at the foothills of the French Alps, halfway between Chambéry and Grenoble. Along its Avenue du Granier, on a sidestreet, in recent years an imposing sculpture garden came into being: Marcel Vinsard's art environment.
Life and works
Born in 1930, Vinsard has been a barber throughout his entire working life of more than fifty years.
Just before he retired, he began in 2001 -in his early seventies- making sculptures, being inspired to do so by a book about the Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti. he had gotten from a friend.
Vinsard, a self-taught artist who calls himself a bricoleur (handyman, do-it-yourselver), at the outset made his creations from wood and bark. Later he turned to cellular concrete and currently he works with polystyrene.
All other materials he uses consists of discarded objects, mostly from the local dump, which he visits regularly.
Interviewed in 2013 by a local magazine (Pontch Echos, p. 8) Vinsard says:
"My subjects are very diverse: celebrities from the political and the artistic world, characters I did in the style of famous artists, animals, dreamlike creatures, figurines, totems, compositions of objects. The set is a real museum. I like to give my sculptures bright colors".
Giacometti inspired him indeed. In 2013 Vinsard had made some forty sculptures in the style of this sculptor and on a poster in the garden could be read Le seul en France a faire des copies d'Alfredo Giacometti (the only one in France who makes copies of Alfredo Giacometti)
However, forty is just a small part of his extensive body of work. By 2015 he had made a thousand creations.
They fill not only the porch and the garden of his house, they are also lined up along the sidestreet leading to the house.
And then the interior of the house is also abundantly filled with creations. Vinsard lives alone after his wife sadly died around the time he retired.
To all appearances, Vinsard's work is locally and regionally appreciated. Regional tv in april 2013 had a news item about him, but which is also telling, both town halls of the neighbouring cities Grenoble and Chambéry have a sculpture of Vinsard on display.
Vinsard is a friendly man who is very willing to communicate about his work and when he is at home he will gladly receive visitors.
* Video Le jardin extraordinaire de Marcel V, saison 3, by Yvan Ducognon (19'00", april 2014, Youtube)
* Ducognon made earlier video's of Vinsard's art environment, one published january 2013 (27'55") and another one published july 2013 (11'53")
216 avenue du Granier
38530 Pontcharra, dep Isère, FR
when Vinsard is at home he will welcome visitors