To Australian eyes, the hills of the Cévennes have a certain picture-book quality. The scenery seems to have been constructed as a collage of cut paper sheets. Planes overlap planes, each plane partially revealing and partially obscuring the planes behind.
In Cévenol towns, the overlapping planes of the roofs produce the same effect. Arches and narrow walkways cut through the Medieval walls. There is always an enticing glimpse of a plane beyond.
Everywhere in the Cévennes there is evidence of a long and complex history:
- A plaque on a medieval wall marks an execution place from 1943. A member of the resistance was shot here in the street during the German occupation.
- A medieval tower marks the site of Moorish defence works. Here, at the edge of their empire, they kept the marauding infidels at bay.
- A faded white cross on the side of a house has survived centuries of renovations and building works. It reminds us that here was no house of Camisards, but the home of a true catholic family.
- Goats and sheep still amble through the mountain passes, their clanking metal bells echo 500 years of clanking armour on Roman army patrols.
Layers of history like geological strata are worn away to reveal hints of the layers below.
Je remercie les gentils Cévenols qui nous ont aidés avec l’esprit généreux de la région: Françoise, Hélène, Lucette, Michel, Mélanie Arnal, Isabelle Collumeau, Gilles Dugas, Adrienne Lautric, Bernard Lautric, Phillippe Pibarot, David Plumb, Manuel Poulain, Bénédicte Schilliro, Albin Tzaut et Térésa Tsaut.
The work from this residency was first exhibited in
Traces d’un Passage at
30440 St Roman de Codière, France
in October 2006.