February 16, 2009

Raymond Moralès, Parc-exposition / Exposition grounds

 pictures (Flickr, july 2007) courtesy of garethschweitzer
click to enlarge

Driving the busy coastal road along the Mediterranean between Port-de-Bouc and Fos-sur-Mer, west of Marseille, one passes an enclosure wall with a large inscription reading Musée Moralès.

Life and works

Behind that wall Raymond Moralès (1926-2004) had his exposition grounds.

A son of an immigrant from Spain, at age fourteen Moralès became an iron worker at the shipyard of Port-de-Bouc.

When in 1966 the shipyard had to close, he began a small business as a blacksmith, producing iron elements, like handrails for stairs and ornaments for gardens,

Around 1970 he settled on the spot where eventually the Museum would be established. The house has a large plot of land, some 5000 m²  (1.2 acres) and around 1982 Moralès transformed the terrain into an open air museum, a parc-exposition.

As an autodidact artist he already had made paintings, like he also had made some sculptures from concrete, but his main passion became making sculptures from forged and welded iron material, small ones, but mainly big creations. Some of these would be some four meters high. He had some technical equipment available, derived from the closed shipyard.

Ultimately, some 700 creations were installed in the area.

click to enlarge

Moralès' creations in general are rather robust. They have been described as menacing or frightening.

This may be so. But then, Raymond Moralès's view of nowadays society was not very optimistic:
"Life in society is not easy...you must fight against the problems that pop up ever again" ..... "There are problems since mankind exists, and as long as there are problems I will continue...." (quotes from the video by Raphael Wertheimer, see documentation).

The expo-grounds could be visited by the public, until in the course of 2007 the site was closed.


* From September 14 till October 6 2012 some 36 works by Moralès have been exposed in the Gagarine gallery in Port de Bouc, while at the same time some six of his monumental sculptures were installed on various public places in the municipality.

* In 2015 (from July 5 until August 8) the IFF Gallery in Martigues, France, exposed a selection of Moralès' sculptures together with photographs of the site made by Bernard Borme.

 A sculpture transferred to Atelier Musée, Montpellier

In 2015 one of Moralès' sculptures has been added to the garden of the Atelier Musée, an art brut museum in Montpellier, southern France, opened March 18, 2016

* Entry on SPACES website (2014)
* An article (May 2012) by Léon-Claude Vénézia, a french photographer, who met Moralès in the late seventies (this article was published on the website of the Alain Paire Galerie
* A video published in 2009 (but shot in 2000) by Raphael Wertheimer. This video not only shows the sculptures, but also introduces Moralès talking about his creations (A transcript of the text, translated into English, is available in my collection Outsider Environments Texts).

Future of the site?

Closed since 2007 and currently (2016) still extant, the future of the site is unclear.

first published February 2009, last revised July 2015

Raymond Morales
Route de Fos (N568), corner Avenue des Pins
13110 Port de Bouc, dept Bouches-du-Rhône, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France


  1. Hi Henk; I can see that the trip is going to have to be Paris to Lyon to Marseille now to go see whether these places have survived... you sure have a knack for giving people a strong urge to pick up the camera and go jump in the car ! Thanks for the inspirations to travel... owen

  2. Yes, a good idea...from Paris, to Lyon and thento Marseille...and then...I am afraid one of my next posts will be about a site in the North, near Lille.

  3. I can see it is going to be hard to keep up with all these places ! But I love getting out and wandering around... so sooner or later will track some of them down... keep them coming !

  4. Hi, My name is Lale Çalış Şenyel . I have done an interview with MR Morales in 1994 for Turkish TV “TRT 1” . We have also some copy of this reportage and photos. You can see some of the photos from my Facebook account and instagram . Facebook “ Lale Calis Şenyel” instagram “ lalecalissenyel” . The TV program was published in 1994. The producer died in 2021 and gave all the original documents, casettes etc . to her assistant. I have also a CD . May be we can publish it in your account. Have a nice day.