FRAC Alsace garden gate
In 2010, the FRAC Alsace Technical Purchasing Committee commissioned the Austrian sculptor Elmar Trenkwalder to design a sculpture specifically for the entrance to the Clos du FRAC, along the Ill river and visible from the town, in order to complete the site’s identity as a vineyard, and to continue the tradition of adorning the entrance to an estate with a gate without a gate or fence.
In December 2010, Elmar Trenkwalder submitted a study to FRAC Alsace, comprising four drawings and two models from the FRAC collection. These elements formed the basis on which the Frac placed the final order for the sculpture in 2013.
The commissioning process was a specific initiative of the governing bodies of the Agence Culturelle d’Alsace, supported by the Région Alsace and the DRAC Alsace / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, with the assistance of the Ville de Sélestat.
A PORTAL IN DIALOGUE WITH THE LANDSCAPE
Elmar Trenkwalder is renowned for his singular and ambitious use of ceramics. Based on a universe of proliferating organic forms, he designed a monumental, 5-metre-high gate for the Clos du FRAC, with two pilasters and no grille.
Elmar Trenkwalder is renowned for his singular and ambitious use of ceramics. Based on a world of proliferating organic forms, he designed a monumental, 5-metre-high gate with two pilasters and no grid for Le Clos du FRAC.
This work, entitled WVZ 284, is the first ceramic piece he has designed for outdoor use. It reveals itself differently depending on which side of the building you look at: on the city side, a pattern of vertical grooves continues the rigorous architectural style of the building; on the garden side, the sinuous design of intertwined plant branches, like those of a vine or climbing plant, responds to the nature of the vines. In this way, WVZ 284 enters into a perfect dialogue with the landscape, from which it might appear to be a fantastic emanation.
PRODUCTION AND INSTALLATION
WVZ 284 is a formidable artistic and technical challenge. It is composed of 31 independent elements, mounted on an internal metal support structure, itself set in a concrete foundation poured into the ground. The work, carried out in the artist’s studio in Innsbruck (Austria), was made possible thanks to advice from Manufacture de Sèvres. Each element was modelled by hand, then fired at temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees in several stages, giving it a hardness equivalent to that of stone.
The work was then mounted and assembled on site, in the FRAC garden, in June 2015.
The installation was divided into 3 phases: creation of the concrete foundation and base, installation of the internal metal framework, and installation of the sculpture itself. The foundation and metal structure were entrusted to service providers in the Sélestat region. The installation was carried out by the artist, accompanied by Alsatian companies for the foundation and metal structure, as well as lifting and project management.
Giving access to the Clos du FRAC, which is permanently open to the public, WVZ 284 gives a new identity to the site, inviting visitors to take a walk that is both bucolic and phantasmagorical.