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Al Hamrâ (New Settings #4)

A hypnotic flower

Sculptor and colourist Vincent Beaurin, best known for his ‘colour spots’ in resin and coloured sand, answers the call of the stage, leading us over the footlights with an impassioned response to the magnetic sounds of young Caribbean percussionist Justin Godfrey. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Al Hamrâ (New Settings #4)
© Vincent Beaurin

A visual artist with little experience of the stage, Vincent Beaurin was inspired by the legendary Salle de la Coupole at Paris’s Cité internationale. Fascinated by the often vast spaces of the theatre, as opposed to the intimacy of the art gallery, he threw himself into his début theatrical project, creating a four-metre square sculpture of a seven-petalled flower lit by a vertical axis. The sculpture is the performance: the action is contained in the play of light, evoking the sun’s passage over the sea. This is a musical production too - we are transported by the colours and their sound accompaniment alike.

Enchanted by the sound of a futuristic percussion instrument — the hang-drum — and the solar energy of Justin Godfrey, a 19-year-old Caribbean musician discovered on the Internet, Vincent Beaurin brought the unknown composer across the sea to Europe, for this shared adventure. The project poses a number of riddles: why seven petals? Why does the title refer to the red of the Alhambra palace in Granada? Why embrace theatrical convention, only to subvert it? No reason, perhaps, other than to break free of the dragging weight of this world—something Vincent Beaurin achieves in his sculptures.  

The audience sits on stage, the sculpture fills the auditorium, the musician while his instruments fill the orchestra pit and the air all around. And the audience pursues its private reveries. Who are these theatre-goers, anyway, so different from the public for contemporary art and galleries? Vincent Beaurin waits. He is terrified of first meetings.

>> Discover "Al Hamrâ" on video

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Light installation : Vincent Beaurin

Musical composition and performance : Justin Godfrey

Production : Lebeau & associés, with the support of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès New Settings program