Roger Chomeaux (Chomo), Le village d’art préludien (The Village of Preludian art)
Achères-la-Forêt, Île-de-France, 77760, fr
As of the time of this writing (spring 2011), although the constructions remain, the public is no longer allowed to visit.
About the Artist/Site
Even as a young man Roger Chomeaux had a passion for art. He attended art school in Valenciennes (1921-1925) and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris (1926-1928). However, to earn his living, he worked for a firm in the Paris area as a carpet decorator.
During World War II he was taken prisoner and deported to Poland. Back in France after the war he continued to actively create art work in such media as gouache and ceramics, and he even experimented with film. It was at this time that he began using the name Chomo. In 1960 he exhibited in a Parisian art gallery, which was a success, especially among the surrealists. However, Chomo was reluctant to sell his works.
During the summer Chomo and his family moved to a country house located in Achères la Forêt, in the woods south of Paris. In the following years he began transforming this site into an art environment, creating a variety of constructions and buildings with the use of recycled materials. Among the works were l´Église des Pauvres (The Church of the Poor), le Sanctuaire des Bois Brûlés (The Shrine of the Burned Woods) and le Refuge (the Shelter).
In the mid sixties Chomo moved permanently to this wooded site, expanding the art environment while at the same time continuing with a variety of other artistic projects as well, including painting, sculpting, weaving carpets, writing poetry, playing music, and making films. He preferred the solitude and simple life in the woods as he felt it helped him to preserve his artistic freedom. He refused to actively participate in the mainstream art world, and only exhibited once, in a special 1991 display organized for him by a group of friends in nearby Milly-la-Forêt. His work, however, was becoming known, and beginning in the 1970s visitors would come to see his creations.
As of the time of this writing (spring 2011), although the constructions remain, the public is no longer allowed to visit. Most of the smaller sculpture, paintings, and other works have been retained by the family or are in other private collections.
~Henk van Es
Map & Site Information
Achères-la-Forêt, Île-de-France, 77760 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 48.354976 / 2.570289
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