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Paul A. Harris
Animaterial Medusa, 2019
Tree roots, stones, sock

The Pipe Dreams of Pierre Jardin

Ever the fearless innovator and peerless provocateur, Pierre Jardin has broken fresh ground with his latest landscape, The Field of Broken Pipe Dreams. Displaying a diversity of discarded materials, “Field” conveys a sense of both vulnerability and possibility. Jardin, asserting that he “always strives to be au courant with l’air du temps,” stated that this new work “expresses a mixed mood of melancholy and optimism endemic to the waning of pandemic panic.”

The Field of Broken Pipe Dreams, unified by a reddish brown and black color palette, features rusted iron pieces resting on basalt boulders, stones stuck in and on stumps, and a burnt branch sticking up like a charred tree trunk after a forest fire. When he came across busted pipes and blackened branches while stone-fishing at a local rock beach, Jardin first saw them as eyesores, pollutant debris left by people. But then he realized that, like rocks, these materials were eroding and merging with the environment. Just as the pipes rust and wear away in the surf, the iron oxidizes rocks and lends them new color. “I used to be a petric purist; The Petriverse had to be a rock garden. Now, I’m like, WHOA, it’s ALL geologic!” Jardin exclaimed. “Rocks are rubble, remnants of uplifted terraces; pipes are junk, debris of constructed buildings. And for that matter,” he added, “basalt also embodies a cycle of literal boom and bust—magma breaking the crust, then cooling into cool stones.”

Like many people, Jardin spent a lot of lockdown daydreaming, fantasizing about myriad fantastic projects that faded out as mere pipe dreams. “This field is dedicated to the dreams broken by the pandemic,” Jardin said, his voice breaking. “But in turning trash into art, it also invites us all to focus on how we can transform loss into opportunity.”
- Paul A. Harris on his character Pierre Jardin