International Garden Festival of Chaumont-sur-Loire
The International Garden Festival is organized by the Domaine of Chaumont-sur-Loire in France. Each year, 25 temporary gardens are created by landscapers, architects and designers on a 200 to 250 square-meter plot. The Festival theme in 2014 is "The Seven Deadly Sins" and is open to the public from the April, 25th to November, 1st. This event gathers more than 350,000 visitors each year.
The garden of the "Les fleurs maudites"(The Damned Flowers), thought up by Charlotte Trillaud and the Parisian architect Lucien Puech, invites to discover a collection of "unloved" plants through a winding path made of wire mesh, iconic material of contemporary landscapes.
The use of psychotropic, narcotic or entheogens plants, serves since ancient times to appease wrath of men facing injustice, impotence, they invite us to go beyond the immanence, towards a promising otherworldliness where comfort, forgetfulness or redemption can be reached. Yet their fate is not enviable: repressed, prohibited, restricted, destroyed, they are themselves victims of human injustice, and feed a legitimate anger.
The anger of cursed plants used by witches, marginalized, animists, reminds us that plants also may prohibition-stricken, like hops for moral reasons, hemp for commercial reasons, henbane or absinthe for their harmful properties, datura for its hallucinogenic power, or mustard for its aphrodisiac properties that invite us to lust and sin. The history of these plants and stories about them are presented on panels along the path. The composition of the garden highlights the imprisonment that strikes these plants, and features a sinuous and labyrinthine path where the visitor steps into until finding himself locked in a dead end where a tree grows thorny. It is an invitation to reflect on the injustice of the arbitrary separation imposed by the barriers and barbed wire borders. A fence divides the visitor from the plants presented and prevents from touching them.
The path is composed of classical elements, revisited as distorted by a temper tantrum. Evoking urban wasteland, the structure oxidizes, tears in places and draws waves. The organic geometry, first opened to the sky, then more and more concealing, disrupts the spatial perception of the visitor.