December 30, 2008

Rémy Callot, Palisade avec frescoes/Enclosure with frescoes

this picture and the next three(2010) 
courtesy of Sophie Lepetit 

This outsider environment was a hidden treasure, untill it was discovered after its author had died and the city wanted to demolish house and garden to construct a roundabout.

Life and works

Rémy Callot (1926-2001) lived in ihe industrious community of Carvin, in the north of France, where had an administrative function at the office of a mining company.

Due to an accident in his youth he had lost his left forearm, but this didn't stop him to make paintings and pottery as a self-taught artist. 

When Callot later in life moved to a house, actually more of a barrack, with a plot of land of some 400 m² at the rue Michel Montaigne in Carvin, he surrounded the site with a palisade and then, in the late 1980's, early 1990's he decorated the enclosure with colorful frescoes and mosaics.

After Callot died in 2001 his house remained unhabited and his art environment remained unnoticed.

However, this changed in 2006, when the city had developed plans for a new layout of the street to make a roundabout (or maybe a parking). At the moment the house had to be demolished, the frescoes were discovered. The authorities made the wise decision to postpone the public works and preserve the artwork.

The city's cultural center, Centre Jean Eiffel, was actively involved in this decision.

Future of the site

Currently the frescoes are on display on the enclosure walls of Callot's plot. A kind of open air exhibition.

In november 2008 the Cercle des amis de Rémy Callot was formed, a group of friends active in promoting Callot's work. It's being discussed what should be done with this environment. Maybe the site will become kind of a musée jardin, an open air musem, but it probably will take time to develop plans and find funds.

End november 2013 the newspaper Voix du Nord reported that a Foundation  has developed a plan to transform the site into an artist's residence with a workshop, annex to a room for conferences, an exposition room and a café. One is seeking funding for this project.


In september 2011 the Centre Jean Eiffel in Carvin had an exposition of Callot's ceramics.

picture courtesy of Center Jean Eiffel

It turns out that some two hundred ceramic creations were part of his legacy which was donated to the city by the family. This collection, mostly in a rather good condition, gives a good impression of Callot's artistic potential.

Pictures of exposed ceramics on the FB-page of the Cercle des Amis de Rémy Callot (Group of Friends)

Documentation/more pictures
In 2012 an interesting study (for a large part available on Google Bookswas published in France, which describes the way Callot's creation was discovered and how various actors in the public domain dealt with the artist and the artworks, comparing these developments with those around the discovery of the artworks created by Jean Smilowski who lived in the city of Lille, also located in northern France: Véronique Moulinié, Comment naissent les œuvres des singuliers? (How is the artwork of singular artists born?). A propos de quelques sites dans le Nord-Pas-de-Calais et ailleurs, in Heinich, Nathalie et Shapiro, R. (Eds), De l’artification. Enquêtes sur le passage à l’art, Paris (Eds de l’école des hautes études en sciences sociales, EHESS, Collection Cas de figure), 2012. pp 63-79.
* L'inventaire général du patrimoine culturel, Région Hauts-de-France (Official inventory of french cultural heritage)
* Series of pictures on the city's Flickr page 
Elodie Guillaume, La conservation des mosaïques de Rémy Callot, un habitant-paysagiste. (Dissertation in contemporary art history, University Lille III Charles De Gaulle, 2005)
* Tiphaine Kempka, La découverte du jardin secret de Rémy Callot, in: d'Étonnants jardins en Nord-Pas de Calais, Lyn (Ed. Lieux-dits), 2015. pp. 32-35
The internet has a dynamic representation by Typhaine Kempka of the plan of the Fondation Callot

Rémy Callot
Palisade with mosaics
Carvin, Pas de Calais,  France
on the corner of the rue de la Gare 
and the rue Michel Montaigne
mosaics can be seen from the street

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