Hervé Cadenat, Garden
10, Rue des Écoles Douzens 11700, near Lézignan, Corbières (Aude, France
About the Artist/Site
Hervé Cadenat is a collector.
In his garden, in the center of the village of Douzens near Lézignan, Corbières, over the years Hervé Cadenat has installed an impressive quantity of all kinds of objects, including stuffed animals and toys of every genre, all recovered from the dumps, given to him by friends, or gleaned from the empty corners of the neighborhood.
Little sheds made of bric-and-brac protect his chickens and rabbits, which have free run in his garden. A large hut on pylons, outfitted with a toboggan so that one can rapidly descend from it, is the privileged playground for his grandchildren.
Pools interconnected with a closed-circuit water system serve to turn the mills, under the watchful eyes of G.I. Joe and Barbie dolls. One shed in the middle of the garden shelters a retired mannequin and an enormous stuffed elephant that has known other lives. In the corner, on top of a wall above a big stuffed bear coiffed with a pink lampshade, a virgin, a green frog, and a geisha rub shoulders, framed by a tank door. Suspended on the side of a sick bird are several melancholy stuffed animals. A rural guard surveils the entrance to this small world.
Hervé Cadenat rambles slowly through his garden, telling local anecdotes in the middle of his indescribable collections. At the rear of the garden, in one of the sheds, are the remainders of a maquette of the neighborhood, constructed, house by house, in cardboard and what he calls “pif,” as inscribed on a plaque. The light fixtures are made from the corks of sparkling wine.
Each time I visit, this site is different. Cadenat works ceaselessly, modifying it to welcome new arrivals, responding to his current mood.
Translated by Jo Farb Hernández
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