Genuine artistic open sky laboratory, the UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence has inspired many artists. In Digne les Bains, you will have the opportunity to discover, during many hikes, a collection of outdoor works. The originality of this artistic project lies in the fact that the works are scattered over a large area and walking is the only means to access them. Andy Goldsworthy, Herman De Vries, or Richard Nonas, invite you to discover the high-altitude villages which are today deserted and even sleep in the “works-places” for a little while, if you so wish.
Art on the walking track
The area of Digne les Bains has the most comprehensive collection in the world of works by Andy Goldsworthy gathered in a same place. This British artist is one of the most famous figures of the Land Art movement. Artist-in-residence, invited by the Gassendi Museum and the Natural Geological Reserve of Haute Provence in the late 1990s, Andy Goldsworthy fell in love with the territory of Digne les Bains, where he created its “Sentinelles” and “Refuge d’Art” during his many visits. His work “Refuge d’Art” is a hiking route marked by restored old buildings (chapels, farms…) within which the artist has created a work. This hike extends over 150 km and crosses amazing landscapes. This course can be achieved in a 10-day walk (IGN map for sale at the Tourist Office). You can also discover the Refuge d’Art shelters in a one-day hike from Digne les Bains.
Herman De Vries, native from the Netherlands, has also left behind him what he calls “traces”: texts and philosophical fragments that can be found on the hiking trails, as surprises, at the detour of paths, like open windows on nature. Joan Fontcuberta, Spanish artist of international renown, has also added his artistic touch on this inspiring area! An exhibition is devoted to him at the Gassendi Museum.
Gassendi Museum and Cairn Centre of Art: preludes to hiking
The Gassendi Museum, renovated on the model of cabinets of curiosity, offers a continuous dialogue between art and science, the ancient and the contemporary, the inside and the outside. It houses a rich collection related to Land Art artists whose works are to be found on the territory. It is also thanks to the CAIRN (Centre of Informal Art Research on Nature) – partnership between the Gassendi Museum and Geopark of Haute Provence – that the territory welcomes so many works and famous Land Art artists. The CAIRN hosts temporary art exhibitions dedicated to nature.
Land Art outside the borders…
From Digne les Bains, the Land Art paths invite to discover the landscapes beyond the Alps… The Road of Contemporary Art (VIAPAC) connects Digne les Bains with the Italian city of Caraglio thanks to the achievements of 12 famous artists.