La mer - La dentelle, La dentelle - La mer

2009 - Calais (France)
International City of Lace and Fashion of Calais

Materials: 85 Km of dentelle (lace), perfumed incense. Music composed for the event by Jean Robert Lay.
Lighting by Philippe Geneau.

La mer-la dentelle, la dentelle-la mer ( the sea-the lace, the lace-the sea) was an event organized by the city of Calais in collaboration of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a prelude to the inauguration of the new museum: Citè Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode di Calais (International City of Lace and Fashion of Calais).

Every place has a spirit that grows by nourishing on the wealth of the place itself. In the intervention of Maria Dompè, the cold sea of Calais seemed transformed into lace, conserving its own viscosity and uncontrollable waves, invading the museum space. 85 km of lace, many stripes of blue, sky blue, indigo, violet, lilac, azure and sea green alongside and superimposed on each other, forming many streams passing through windows, doors, crossing the central courtyard of the structure and symbolically across rooms of the building, descending the nearby street and then rejoining with the sea water: a single flow of energy, invasive and poetic. During the inauguration, the music composed by Jean Robert Lay and performed by his Opale Quartet, the expert lighting by Philippe Geneau and hundreds of lit incense sticks contributed to create an atmosphere in which everyone could feel a part of the work. Some lace-makers in the months before the installation prepared all the “sea of lace”; meanwhile for more than 4 weeks, assisted by large group of municipal workers from Calais, the artist mounted the work “challenging adverse weather conditions and human incredulity.” It is, therefore, an environmental work, entirely related to the territory. The lace had arrived directly from the sea, since it originally came from England, and this connects with the intention of Maria Dompè and with the history of Calais. Generations of Calais citizens, to whom the artist has dedicated the work, have laboured intensively to realize a true cultural patrimony of humanity, which now needs protection due to the hard economic competition from oriental producers. Also the sea should be safeguarded both as an environmental and social good, since it is precious resource, not only a natural one but also commercial and industrial one of the zone. This work highlights the social message, the beauty, the history, and the daily reality of Calais.