Oriflamme – Tianjin, China
Composed of fin-shapes attached to a mast 68 metres high, the sculpture stands out boldly against this new cityscape. Most strikingly, this is not a static work: in perpetual movement, it interacts with external forces like the wind. The fins are activated by a system of electromagnets which simultaneously attract and repel each other. The work is lit up at night by dynamos that store its dynamic energy. — Vimeo post
This is the work of French artist Jean-Bernard Metais
Few cities in Canada have the funds or the imagination or the courage to permit an artist to build something as imposing as the works created by Métais in Europe and China.
“Making art in the public sphere,” says Métais, “means building a bond with a place and the people who live in it. My sculpting is essentially based upon the experimenting I do with the place I work in. The elements I bring into play are not an attempt to explain the location; they try to create a resonance, a sensorial bond between people and their environment.”
Métais often uses words to convey ideas that aim to reveal the location’s function and unique character. The words he chooses, usually short, are significant for what they represent, but also for their expressiveness, imagery and poetic richness. This work with words also entails design research with the graphics themselves, to make them an integral part of the work’s aesthetic dimension. —Herve-Armand BECHY
In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, he has integrated art within an historic site, Fort Lambert. “The Wave,” the artist says, “creates a wholly new perspective on the fortress, an alternative vantage point between the visible and the invisible, yesterday and today.”
Litanie (2007), Valenciennes, France
Placed precisely at the former location of [Valencienne’s] belfry (an ancient 14th century edifice that collapsed in 1840), Métais’ work is a 45-meter high arrow that marks the spot, regenerating an emblematic link to local history. The belfry, a lookout tower characteristic of northern French cities in the Middle Ages, was a meeting point where diverse crowds would gather daily to conduct business, debate rules and laws, and celebrate events… It was above all a neutral, open forum where people could come to share and discuss news.
To valorize the location of the Place des Armes, Métais designed a light yet stark structure: a giant needle that points to the sky. Aside from its formal function as a monumental landmark, the work also acts upon the square like a “rumor”. The structure is filled with thousands of whispering voices, with words of local significance, secrets shared by people of the city and its surroundings. — http://www.jbmetais.com
In this video we see the fabrication and installation of “Litanie” for the city of Valenciennes. (Videos supplied by the artist, on Vimeo.com.)
Métais has been given carte blanche to design a 61 acre public park in Jurong, China (population 1,000,000). The location of one of the largest archeological sites in the world, dating back to 150 BCE, Jurong is close to Nankin, the former capital of China.