Modern Nature: An Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Five

Modern Nature: An Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Five

La Becque Artist Residency

June 4, 2024
Modern Nature: An Homage to Derek Jarman, Part Five
July 5–6, 2024
La Becque Artist Residency
Chemin de la Becque 1
1814 La Tour-de-Peilz Vaud

T +41 21 973 25 13

Initiated in 2019, Modern Nature aims to bring together works, ideas, and performances that echo Derek Jarman’s artistic work. The project, which pays tribute to the artist, his garden, and his activism, guides the reflections that underpin the design of this event.

La Becque has embarked on the creation of a garden and arts program inspired by the life and work of English filmmaker, artist, and writer Derek Jarman (1942–94). Author of numerous short and feature films, paintings, sculptures, diaries, and essays, Jarman was also the creator of Prospect Garden, an extraordinary garden which he cultivated near Dungeness, on the English coast of Kent, until his last days, and which thrived despite the adverse coastline conditions (sharp pebble beaches, incessant wind, and biting sea spray). A “total” work of art, the garden and the adjoining cottage have become a place of pilgrimage for the artist’s many admirers.

Developed under the curatorship of Elise Lammer in 2019, the project was taken over by Vanessa Cimorelli in 2023. Modern Nature includes the development of a garden, comprising native plants, which are integrated into the wild meadows of La Becque, and pay tribute to Prospect Garden. Each year, the garden hosts Swiss and international artistic projects (performances and sculptures) designed for the site and related to Jarman’s work, in addition to film screenings and musical performances. Echoing the main themes explored by La Becque, i.e. the links between nature, the environment, and technology, seen through the prism of art, the project develops these thematic avenues by drawing on a particular place and a significant body of art, many aspects of which remain little-known in Switzerland.

For the fifth Modern Nature, La Becque has decided to focus on corporeality through water [1]. As his health deteriorated, Jarman took refuge in Dungeness, where he returned to his first love: gardening and nature. Published between 1989 and 1990 under the title Modern Nature, the English author’s diary is a poetic account of his life. Describing his daily life, he tells the story of Prospect Cottage, a small fisherman’s cottage built “eighty years ago by the sea” [2], facing the sun on a road that glints silver in the sea mist. Jarman recounts: “One stormy night many years ago, the waves broke right up to the front door, threatening to engulf it… but today, the sea has receded, leaving strips of pebbles” [3]. It is precisely on this terrain that the artist shaped his garden, a place of resistance for himself and his plants, but also a space that separates and paves the way to the shore.

By letting the vocabulary slide, this formerly submerged site reminds us that water has the ability to dissolve notions of boundaries. This is the starting point for this year’s event: a drift into wider, swirling, shifting terrain. La Becque invites us to immerse ourselves in this iteration of fluid thought, and to become “bodies that flow, stream, drip, trickle, cross space and time [and] form puddles of matter and meaning” [4]. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, La Becque aims to understand water as more than a mere presence, rather as a bearer of intentions. It invites us to experiment with a lively, liquid language, the juices of which we hope will dissolve some of our barriers to pleasure.

The fifth edition of Modern Nature will feature workshops, conversations, installations, performances and screenings by Bruta & Sandar Tun Tun, Salomé Chatriot, Tony Colombe. K, Fronte Violeta, Hot Bodies / Gérald Kurdian, Lazare Lazarus, Clovis Maillet & Robert Mills and Lena Maria Thüring. Full program available on La Becque’s website.

[1, 4] Astrida Neimanis, Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water, 2012. [2, 3] Derek Jarman, Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989–90.

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La Becque Artist Residency
June 4, 2024

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