Artist

Camila Eslava

'La boulangerie d’autre fois' a laboratory of contemporary landscapes with bread.

This residency project proposed to inhabit and consider the landscape of this particular place from the two different «laboratories» of the Vassivière Island. One is the bakery whose operation of the stone oven and the knowledge held by the island’s artisan baker preserve traditions that are more than four centuries old. The second is the Contemporary Art Center (CIAP), which thinks about the contemporary relationship between art and landscape. The bridge I created between these two places with highly different temporalities in creation was through working and thinking about the different layers of the bread-making process. Together, with the collaboration of the baker, La boulangerie d’autrefois, became a contemporary art laboratory in which we proposed experiences that reflect on the different levels of bread-making and relate them to different levels of the micro / macro landscape.

taking clay layering techniques in ceramics (Neriage) and adapted them to making bread. By pigmenting the flours with other foods (beets, spinach, and cauliflower), we were able to create layers of dough of different colors and make drawings inside the body of the bread.

This led me to think about the act of cutting the body to discover the universe that is within. This metaphor suggests thinking about the type of knowledge inherited from the 19th century, where dissection was the main tool to cut a body to access the unknown, the interior and then classify the parts. But in this case, what we find in the internal body of these breads that look like minerals on the outside are a kind of landscape, something magical and unexpected. Within these loaves we made, we found layers that made us think of the geological world, the tectonic layers. These breads, in their outer layer, evoke not only the mineral world but also the protist world. During this time of experimentation, many of these loaves were arranged in the forest of the island to be eaten by the animals and to be returned to the landscape. At the end of the residency, an exhibition was proposed in the Vassivière castle as a banquet to which the guests came, cut the bread and ate it while they contemplated the universes that were discovered in the bread slides. The remains of the banquet were disposed in the forest for the animals and to continue their organic decomposition process.