Modern Nature: an Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Two

Modern Nature: an Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Two

La Becque Artist Residency

September 11, 2020
Modern Nature: an Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Two
September 25–27, 2020
La Becque Artist Residency
Chemin de la Becque 1
CH-1814 La Tour-de-Peilz
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Friday, September 25, 6–10pm / Saturday, September 26, 1–10pm / Sunday, September 27, 12–9pm

In 1987, British filmmaker, artist and activist Derek Jarman was touring the south coast of Kent—also known as “the desert of England”—while scouting for a film location. Soon after, and shortly after being diagnosed with AIDS, he bought a small plot of land in the area, in Dungeness, one adorned with a small wooden fisherman’s house. The specific location Jarman picked to be his home until his passing in 1994, which he named Prospect Cottage, contributed and still contributes to his enduring artistic legacy.

Gardening and nature are recurring themes in Jarman’s biography and oeuvre. A memoir of sorts, Modern Nature (1991) includes descriptions of Jarman’s progress growing his Dungeness garden, but also of the slow physical decay of his own body. In this text, Jarman remarkably aligns natural and non-natural phenomena as the guiding principles of his garden and life. Named after Jarman’s Modern Nature, the garden that started growing in spring 2019 at La Becque | Artist Residency, on the shore of Lake Leman in Switzerland, is intended to function like a living archive, and a means to raise greater awareness about Derek Jarman’s life and work.

Conceived jointly by Basel-based curator Elise Lammer and La Becque, Modern Nature: an Homage to Derek Jarman is a 3-year project which comprises the development of a garden and artistic programme inspired by the life and work of Derek Jarman. Created especially for Modern Nature, the garden located on the lakeside grounds of La Becque is a tribute to the garden Jarman developed at Prospect Cottage. Far from a perfect copy, La Becque’s Jarman-inspired garden is in fact a reinterpretation of the principles that guided Jarman throughout his gardening. Namely, working with local and native species, using found elements to create a scenography, devising efficient biodynamic arrangements, and avoiding walls or fences. 

At La Becque, the garden acts as a platform for artistic interventions by Swiss and international contemporary artists working across the mediums of video, sculpture, performance and music. In late summer 2019, a first selection of living artists were put in dialogue with what was still a sparse garden and a rather minimal research archive. Ranging from people who had worked closely together with Derek Jarman to younger artists whose practice strongly resonated with themes dear to him, the cohort’s connections to Jarman were somewhat intuitive and endorsed the capacity of his legacy to transcend generations and geographies. As a result, this first series of works newly conceived or adapted “for” this Swiss version of Prospect Cottage emerged under the overarching theme of “camp”.

Planned as open-ended process of layering that could evolve over several years, the documented and undocumented synergies taking place between the artists’ contributions and the garden flora will gradually grant the garden its autonomy, eventually incarnating what a living archive could be.

Opening on September 25, 26, and 27, 2020, the second chapter of Modern Nature will focus on the notion of “queering nature”, unveiling newly-produced sculptures displayed in the garden, as well as readings, film screenings, and various artististic and music performances. It will also mark the birth of Garden Feelings, a new series of plantophile sonic events conceived by Julie le Gonidec and Philippe Heim, which aim to concile collective listening and natural environments. After this opening weekend, the garden will remain open to the public until December 2020, before reopening in spring 2021.

Featured artists: Félicia Atkinson (FR), Adrien Chevalley (CH), Anne-Laure Franchette (FR), Dorota Gawęda (PL) and Eglė Kulbokaitė (LT), Marie Griesmar (CH), Jailor & Fula (CH/FR), Jean-Yves Le Baron (FR), Jose Cáceres Mardones (CL/CH), Julie Monot (CH), Alessandra Novaga (IT), Florence Peake (UK), Jessy Razafimandimby (MD/CH), Prem Sahib (UK), Rosario Talevi (AG/DE), Time is Away (UK), Maxine Yolanda (CH).

Complete program schedule available on La Becque’s website.

Modern Nature: An Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Two is supported by the Fondation Casino Barrière and the Service of Cultural Affairs of the City of La Tour-de-Peilz. 

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La Becque Artist Residency
September 11, 2020

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