Le Vote de Barbirey
The Vote of Barbirey
Barbirey-sur-Ouche, France 1999 - 2004
Jochen Gerz was invited by the Association Grand Publique to do a public work in a garden in Burgundy, as other artists had before. He proposed a project, or rather a process, which engaged the castle, its garden, as well as the residents of the surrounding village and its municipality.

Each year the residents of Barbirey-sur-Ouche, decided on a new name for the castle park. The name was chosen to honor a living person either from the region, from France or abroad that impressed the residents by what he or she did, wanted to do or by what he or she suffered. Since 2000, a panel of seven adults from the village was chosen each year at random to be part of the jury and, once they agreed by unanimous vote, the name was inscribed on plaques at the two entrances to the park where they remained for twelve months.

In the first year The Vote of Barbirey chose the singer and musician Pierre Perret. The second jury of the village voted a year later for Nicolas Hulot, the well-known French ecologist. In the third year, Jacqueline Rollin from a nearby village, impressed the jury because of her humanitarian work in the north of Nigeria and gave her name to the gardens. The fourth laureate was Guy Roux, the iconic soccer manager of Avixerre A.S.

The purpose of this ritual was to have a village take over the realization of a contemporary artwork and to become, over time, its author and also to claim back the historical heart of their village, the castle.

Concern for the interplay between the public at large, the way they not only perceive but also become part of the artwork in a museum, a street, a park, have been foremost in Jochen Gerz’s realisations since the 1960’s.

Le Vote de Barbirey was realized during four years from 2000 to 2004.

Object: 2 plaques every year 44,5 x 37,5 cm each.
Partners: Roland Garaudet (owner 1989-2002), Jean-Bernard and Véronique Guyonnaud (owners since 2002), DRAC Bourgogne, Regional Council of Bourgogne, General Council of the Côte d’Or, Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, and the Municipality of Barbirey-sur-Ouche.
Media Partners: regional newspaper ‘Bien Public’

-Les Cahiers de Barbirey, Grand Public, Dijon 2001 (French)

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Pierre Perret 2000 © Benoit Duvergé
© Benoit Duvergé