Guy Cavailhé, Sculpture Garden
Peyriac de Mer (Aude), France
The work is enclosed by a steel fence, but is mostly viewable from the street
About the Artist/Site
Guy Cavailhé lives in Peyriac de Mer, in a home with a view of the Bages salt ponds near the Mediterranean Sea in southern France. Formally a manager who worked in the local wineries, as soon as he retired he began to tinker in his garden. “When one has spent all one’s life working, one just can’t stay around without doing anything,” he said. He started by building a small house for one of his great-granddaughters. On a plaque below it, he wrote, “Tell Papi, Design me a Cabin.”
Next he built a horse that pulls a cart led by a winemaker. The contents of the cart, the tools, the bags of products and the grapevines that poke out beyond the confines of the cart attest to the character’s function. Both he and the horse were constructed out of cement, and both this and the wooden coupling required many hours of work. At the side, a handmade garden gnome poses with other commercially-fabricated brethren on a wheeled board. A classic windmill is installed in one corner of the garden and, in another, there is a representation of the grotto in Lourdes; these lead to the work that I find most interesting: the little carousel. When there is enough wind blowing off the sea, two large yellow and blue painted propellers (the colors of Peyriac’s rugby team) turn the little carousel, which is made of an assortment of found objects, wood, and metal wire. Little people and animals, fabricated in cement and painted, share the grace and charm of children’s art. At the side, in the same style, another work represents a sailboat on the pond and two seagulls, also equipped with propellers.
Cavailhé has not produced many works: more or less seven pieces in total, none of which are very large. And, at 88 years old at the time of my visit (2014), he no longer has the energy necessary to continue to work. Yet his site, although modest, nevertheless relates to the genre of art environments or perhaps even to art brut. The work is enclosed by a steel fence, but is mostly viewable from the street. It is starting to degrade due to lack of care.
Translated by Jo Farb Hernández
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