Life-size art

A veritable open-air artistic laboratory, UNESCO Geopark of Haute Provence inspired many artists. In Digne-les-Bains, the invitation made to them to create outdoors has produced a collection of works that you can discover during hikes. The dispersion of their works over a large territory makes walking the main means of accessing them. This is the originality of the Digne artistic project: art in nature. Discorvering the works ofAndy Goldsworthy, Herman de Vries, or Richard Nonas, means finding exceptional landscapes. Crossing altitude villages that are sometimes deserted, you can live there temporarily by sleeping in "work-places".

Art as a pretext for walking

The region of Digne-les-Bains has the largest collection in the world of works by Andy Goldsworthy gathered in the same space. Artist of British origin, he is one of the recognized figures of Land Art. Invited in residence by the Gassendi Museum and the Geological Nature Reserve of Haute Provence at the end of the 1990s, Andy Goldsworthy fell in love with the Digne territory. Here he created his "Sentinels" and "Refuges d'Art" during numerous visits. His work Refuge d'Art is a hiking route dotted with old restored buildings (chapel, farms, etc.) inside which the artist has created a work. This hike extends over 150 km and crosses incredible landscapes. This route can be completed in 10 days of walking (IGN map on sale at the Tourist Office). However, it is possible to discover the refuges on day hikes from Digne-les-Bains.

Another guest artist, Herman de Vries, originally from the Netherlands, left behind what he calls “traces”. These are texts, philosophical fragments or points, engraved in golden letters that one encounters on the hiking trails. These “traces” are so many landmarks or starting points for observing nature differently.
In a completely different approach, Joan Fontcuberta, an internationally renowned Catalan artist, has also marked this territory with his artistic touch. In his own way, he questions what we believe by what we see. By revealing the presence of enigmatic hydropithecus, it makes nature the sanctuary of our knowledge and beliefs. An exhibition is dedicated to him at the Gassendi Museum.

Gassendi Museum and CAIRN Art Center

The Gassendi Museum, renovated on the model of the cabinet of curiosities, offers an ongoing dialogue between art and science. It also offers a dialogue between the old and the contemporary, the interior and the exterior. The Museum houses a rich collection linked to Land Art artists whose work can be found in the territory. It is thanks to CAIRN (Informal Art Center for Nature Research), collaboration between the Gassendi Museum and the Geopark of Haute Provence, that the destination collects as many works and major artists of Land Art. The CAIRN presents temporary art exhibitions dedicated to nature. Musée Gassendi and CAIRN are preludes to your hikes.

Land Art beyond borders…

From Digne-les-Bains, the Land Art paths invite you to discover the landscapes along the Southern Alps.
The Contemporary Art Route or VIAPAC, connects Digne-les-Bains to the Italian town of Caraglio. The route is dotted with works resulting from the participation of 12 internationally renowned artists.

Download the catalog to discover all the works, their location and the artists.

Cover of the exhibition catalog VIAPAC, Route de l'Art Contemporain