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Testimony of Pablo Reinoso at the unveiling of the artwork Racines de France at the Elysée Palace 23

“At the Elysée, as always in my work, I first wanted to create a connection with the venue, this time it was asserted on its own, a particularly strong symbol of the Republic and France. The work is composed of two benches displayed on either side of the southern terrace of the Elysée Palace. They are built from steel beams, those used by Gustave Eiffel, those that still serve in the construction of our cities and factories. I decided to include in the work two symbols of the Republic, an oak and an olive tree, one represents strength and justice and the other peace. It is more specifically the leaves of these trees that were made with the lost-wax technique directly from the cast of leaves, which we molded in bronze and integrated in each bench. Thus the two benches share a common language but are not exactly similar, they are strained like power games.”

“This work that can also be used as a bench becomes a meeting point, a place for dialogue, a platform to speak out, to reflect, in the heart of the Elysée Palace. It is a genuine public bench in a noble sense of the term. The work location on the garden side acts as a natural pair to the north side of the doorstep of the Elysée, a reception and communication place with the world, here sculptures gaze towards nature, towards France.”

“Once the work was completed a title imposed itself Racines de France (Roots of France) to celebrate the plural roots of France in which the country will tap its dynamism, its continuous renewal, a tool of openness to the world. The work is dated July 14, a national holiday and rally for the nation but also the year 2016, which refers to the terrible events of Nice and reminds us of our duties of remembrance, aid, protection and unity.”

“This sculpture is also a reflection of my collaboration with the Fonderie de Coubertin, over ten years old, with whom I share the love of the profession and the inheritance.”

“Finally this work is the opportunity for me to express myself in a highly symbolic and prestigious place for us all. I would like to thank the President of the Republic François Hollande for his trust and the freedom he granted me. I convey also my thanks to the Minister of Culture, Ms. Audrey Azoulay and Ms. Claudine Ripert-Landler who have supported me throughout this project. The idea of this work was born during an official trip of the President of the Republic to Argentina in which I participated as a Franco-Argentine artist within the cultural delegation. In Buenos Aires, the President discovered a sculpture project that I was working on for the Embassy of France, the idea of creating a bench for the Elysée sprout at that exact moment.”

Photos Credit: Rodrigo Reinoso, Racines de France, Palais de l'Élysée ©Rodrigo Reinoso

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