Dungeness’ Seed Bomb
Workshop with artist Benoît Piéron using plants from Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage garden
Open to all, on reservation
In conjunction with the exhibition Derek Jarman - Dead Souls Whisper (1986-1993) at Crédac until 19 December, the artist Benoît Piéron invites the public to encapsulate the garden that Derek Jarman created from 1987 onwards around his house called Prospect Cottage in Dungeness in Kent, in the south-east of England. With Benoît Piéron, who practices “existential gardening”, the participants will weed the paths of the Prospect Cottage garden in an immobile journey, before grinding peat into powder and adding seeds and fertilizer to disseminate this garden beyond the spatio-temporal limits of the Crédac exhibition.
This powder is contained in blue capsules, a nod to Jarman’s love of colour, and to his last feature film Blue (1993) shown in the Crédakino throughout the exhibition.
Each participant will take home a sample of Prospect Cottage in a blue capsule which, when planted in the ground, acts as a small greenhouse to encourage seed germination. A bowl of capsules will also be available on the reception counter for the public after the event.
Seeds contained in capsules, with peat and fertilizer:
Artemisia absinthium - Wormwood - grand wormwood
Borago officinalis - Borage
Centaurea cyanus - Cornflower
Centranthus ruber - Red valerian
Crambe cordifolia - White cloud cabbage
Crambe maritima - Sea crambe or sea cabbage
Cytisus scoparius - Broom
Digitalis purpurea - Purple Foxglove
Foeniculum vulgare - Fennel
Papaver rhoeas - Poppy
Rosa canina - Dog rose
Rosa rugosa - Rough rose
Ruta graveolens - Rue officinale
Santolina chamaecyparissus - Santolinia small Cypress
Affected by the AIDS virus, Derek Jarman (1942-1994) devotes much of his time to his garden on the moor facing the sea and near a nuclear power station. He landscaped and planted around his house, collecting pebbles, driftwood, old metal, native plants and then others which he acclimatised. Passionate about botany since his childhood, he combines his painter’s eye, his horticultural know-how and his ecological convictions to create a landscape of rare magic where flowers, shrubs, flints, shells and driftwood mingle with sculptures combining stones, old rusty tools like small works of art set in a constantly changing decor. In this hostile and windy terrain, he makes “colours grow” even as his vision fades. His care for the garden also metaphorically heals wounds. In the face of illness and collapse, the vibrancy of the plants, their cycles of life and death in an arid land with a particularly difficult climate, the Prospect Cottage garden becomes the image of a struggle against a body that betrays the artist, and a symbol of resilience.
Benoît Piéron is a French artist born in 1983 in Ivry-sur-Seine. He creates moments, installations and objects.
Benoît Piéron is interested in the sensuality of plants, the borders of the body and the temporality of waiting rooms. He practices patchwork, existential gardening and designs wallpapers. Having always lived with a pet disease, the hospital world is his ecosystem.
He graduated with honours from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2007 and participated in the Hermès Foundation residency programme in 2010. In 2011-2012 he is a resident at the Casa de Velázquez, the French academy in Madrid. In 2014 he was welcomed in residence at the Fernand Léger Gallery in Ivry-sur-Seine, where he had his first solo exhibition in 2015. In 2018, he had a solo exhibition at the Centre d’art contemporain Les Tanneries d’Amilly. In residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in 2020 and 2021, he gives knitted workshops around herborisation and validism in parallel with his exhibitions. In 2021 he planted the Mendes Wood gallery stand at the Fiac and grew a large tuft of grass in the courtyard of the MAT - centre d’art contemporain in Ancenis. For the past few months he has been questioning the food of unicorns, the place of orgasm in hospitals and lethal flora. His works have been exhibited in France, Brussels, Japan, Korea, Spain and Canada.