Le gazouillis des éléphants by Bruno Montpied arrives at SPACES Archives
In this monumental 900-page book, artist and writer Bruno Montpied explores the art environments of France. Le gazouillis des éléphants (the Chirping of Elephants) digs deeply into over 300 sites scattered across the country in great detail, with photographs and information on each site. Arranged geographically, each section focuses on a different area of France and the beginning of each chapter includes a map of the region with indications of where the sites are located.
“It seemed to me that it was necessary to gather together all of the sites in a kind of general inventory, as a whole and as completely as possible, including all of the environments or little outdoor museums created by self-taught artists as well as the inventive artwork of non-professionals…” said Montpied of the project.
A perfect tool for researchers, Le gazouillis des éléphants features statistical information in an index that offers insights not typically examined on such a scale. Sociological statistics like the number of sites per region, the number of female creators, reasons that triggered a site’s creation, and sites newly discovered by the author, among others, empower researchers to gain valuable information for analyzing the phenomenon of artist-built environments across France.
The publisher’s website sheds some light on the title of the book: Le gazouillis des éléphants is borrowed from an inscription found in the listed site of Alexis Le Breton in Brittany. It refers to a curious aspect of this inventory: the unusual recurrence of representations of elephants, which become a motif throughout the book, as if these animals played the role of mascots for these outstanding creators.
This book, written in French, is available at the SPACES Archive at the Kohler Foundation, Inc., for researchers and interested parties to review, by appointment.