December 28, 2020

Les Guallino, Jardin des plus de deux milles coeurs / Garden of more than two thousand hearts

all pictures courtesy of Sophie Lepetit, 
from her weblog

Referred to by the locals as Les Guallino, the couple Anne Poiré and Patrick Guallino has enriched the French municipality of Belmont de la Loire with an art environment that features the bright site of life.

Life and works

Patrick Guallino was born on May 10, 1943 in Uzès. Later he would live in Cannes

At a young age he became interested in visual art and at the age of fourteen he was already working with oil paint and chalk. 

a colorful character in the garden

He continued to do so until at age 25 he was upset by the Paris student revolt, May 1968, and he destroyed or burned all of his work, except a few paintings kept by his mother.. 

It was not until more than ten years later, in 1982, that he resumed the visual arts. He was and remained a non-professional artist without any art education.

In the meantime he was married and had two children.

mosaïque du tapis aux pierres précieuses (2011)
(gemstone carpet mosaic)
Anne Poire was born on September 10, 1965 in Thionville. From an early age she was fascinated by literature and music.

In 1983 she met Patrick and a close relationship developed, that would determine their further life. 

Anne said about this:  
When I met Patrick, painter, sculptor -I am more of a woman of words, rhythms, music and vocabulary- his studio immediately seduced me. And the man.  
I arrived in his small village, and we have never left each other: since then, acrylic, vowels, pastel, consonants, ink intermingle.

 Anne and Patrick got married and in 1990 they settled in Belmont de la Loire to live in a former tissue factory. Belmont is a small community of some 1500 inhabitants, located in a rural setting, north-west of Lyon.

Anne and Patrick in front of some of the  
architectures in their garden

They set up a space of the former factory as a studio and engaged themselves both personally and as a couple with artistic activities. 

Anne Poiré would mainly focus on the literary craft and publish a large series of books (an overview of the book covers can be found on her weblog). Patrick Guallino focused on visual art, initially creating small sculptures, later working on paintings (here is an overview of the development of his work).

an example of a decoration

Before moving on to an overview of the art environment created by the couple, two special events marking their artistic career should be mentioned.

First, on July 30, 2010 on the Place de la Fontaine in the center of Belmont de la Loire an artwork made by Les Guallino was unveiled. It is a screen made from polychrome aluminum, resting on a reconstituted stone base, with a size of 3x3 meters, entitled Amour toujours (Love always).

The other event is of a completely different order, but from an artistic perspective just as interesting. 

In the course of 2016, the couple began to paint umbrellas and put them up for sale. Given the responses published on their weblog, these parapluies de bonheur became a succes indeed. Customers made photos of the umbrellas in various situations, such as on holidays, in front of towers or shops, but also in combination with street art. Wearable art, indeed. 

view of the site through an opening in a wall

Creating an art environment

In 1998 the studio was expanded and soon after that through their joint effort, the outdoor space of Anne and Patrick's residence gradually was transformed into an art environment, a development which is still going on today (2020).

With this creation the couple wants to convey cordiality and happiness, generally speaking they want to present a sunny, joyful outlook on life.

The site includes a garden area with ponds and a number of paths, flanked by an assembly of various several meters high built structures, all parts provided with in general small-scale, colorful decorations.

There are just a few separate sculptures of people or animals -like there is a human character made from stacked stones-. so this site isn't a sculpture garden. However, some parts of the surface of the site have been provided with small-scale boulders or rock formations.

a view of some architectures in the garden

The decorations are mostly of an elementary nature. 

For example, the shape of a human being may be portrayed with a circle as head, a vertical line or triangle for the body and four outward reaching lines as arms and legs. Decorations of this type, or more elaborate variations of it, can be seen on various walls and other places in the site.

Other decorations with a human character, such as faces, are also simple in shape, although no less appealing, as in the picture below.

a series of faces

The paths and other parts of the site lying on the ground, are elaborately decorated with mosaics. An example of this can be seen in the video in the documentation called La mosaique de bonheur (Mosaic of happiness), made in 2011.

The video has images of celestial bodies, with suns depicted as red circles, houses consisting of a red square capped with a red triangle, and there is a multitude of hearts in all kinds of primary colors,  all this interspersed with a few loose pieces of rock. 

Another path, named Le chemin de l'espoir  (Path of hope) has been decorated with trees, probably trees of life, and a third path Le chemin de la vérité et de la vie (Path of truth and life) has been covered with oval mosaics (pictures here)

the pond covered with bamboo sticks 

The site has a round pond, which is covered with a number of decorated bamboo sticks, this in order to protect the fish in the pond from foraging herons.

About the architectures

Regarding the architectures set up in the site, the images in the previous section of this post already give a first impression.

It can be seen that all these constructions are provided with decorations, both in the form of depictions applied on and in the walls, as well as items situated on top of the structures, such as ornamental creations or assemblies of coarse-meshed grid embellished with small colorful items

enclosing wall with decorated panels
specific example of a decorated built structure is the above pictured wall that encloses the site.

This far-stretching wall comprises a large number of panels, each of which is individually provided with wall drawings, as in the picture below.

some decorated panels

One of the panels in the wall refers to Venice with depictions of a gondola, a slender tower and the church on the San Marco Square.

tower with a bench

Above picture depicts a towery structure equipped with a (stone) bench. Sitting on the bench one can enjoy a pond, which is located in front of the tower.

The site also has a Tour de Solstice (Solstice Tower), that emerges on a circular surface of cement, inlaid with mosaic decorations. which was created in summer 2020. 

two dragons crown the top of the cave (2014)

There is also a cave in the garden, formed by a semicircular open structure sunk into a wall, as partly can be seen in above picture. This cave is named Grotte des amours, des fées et des secrets (Cave of loves, fairies and secrets) and was created in 2010.

The top of the cave is decorated with a colorful sculpture. The bulging semicircular rear of this cave is richly decorated.

sculptures around a pond;
in the background a sculpted gate

Apart from the large pond covered with bamboo sticks, mentioned more above, there is a another, smaller pond, surrounded by multicolored candle-holder-like creations.

In the background there is a sculpted gate, crowned with a sculpture of a friendly smiling two-headed character.

decorations on top of the sculpted gate

Near the small pond and the sculpted gate, a new structure has been built, called the Cabane des énergies (Energy cabin), a functional equipment transformed into an artwork with a gable roof, multicolored strips across the left and right sides of the roof and a ridge decorated with small creations.

No photo of this cabin is available here, but on a page in the joint weblog of the couple photos can be seen of the cabin, as well as from front- and backside of the cave, from the gate with the double-headed character and from the candle-holder shaped creations.

a stained glass wall
(on top of an old wall dating back to the 12th century

Finally, here above is an image of a stained glass wall, which has some resemblance to the sculpture unveiled in the center of Belmont de la Loire. This creation rests on a wall that dates back to the 12th century.

The overview given here of the art environment gives a broad outline of what the site contains in terms of creations. It is good to realize that there are also many small parts and decorations, which have to  remain unmentioned here, but which each in their own way contribute to the artistic richness of the site as a whole.

* Weblog by Anne Poiré (with an overview of books she published)
* Weblog by Patrick Guallino
* Joint weblog of Anne and Patrick
* A review of Patrick Guallino's artwork (on pdf) by Ambre Davini
* Three entries on the weblog of Sophie Lepetit (august 2019), with a large series of photos
* Wikipedia with a list of expositions and a bibliography
* An early video (YouTube, november 2011, 1'08") shows Patrick engaged in creating a mosaic

Video La mosaique de bonheur by Les Guallino (YouTube, 2011, 5'52") 

Anne Poiré/Patrick Guallino
Jardin de plus de deux milles coeurs
192, Chemin de Batty
42670 Belmont de la Loire, dept Loire, region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
the site is not open to the public,
occasionaly there are guided visits (see weblog)

1 comment:

  1. A big smile and a lot of "thank you" : your work in this page of webiste is really wonderful. Incredible. Henk Van Es, you will be welcome to visit our paradise. We are not open to the public (it is our wolrd), but when someone comes with a big heart (like you !), no problem to visit with you... After the pandemia, you will be welcome of course !