A familiar face at the event and a privileged observer for a number of years, graphic artist Isabelle Keller is the originator of this project: “I’ve been coming to the Vendée Globe since 2000 and with every edition I notice that there’s been nothing outside the race Village to get people talking about the event. In 2014, I decided to give concrete expression to my idea of creating full scale representations of boat and skippers as well as designing a big wave, so as to tell a story outdoors and physically bring the event to life amongst a wider public, guided by a mascot. I got in touch with photographer Maud Bernos, whose work in the Blue Eyes exhibition I liked, as well as local lady Sophie Roumet d’Enquin, who proved to be very enthusiastic about the project. Next, we were joined by Gaele Flao and Monsieur QQ, artists familiar with working on large formats. All we had to do then was to suggest the theme to the Mayor of Les Sables and to the Vendée Globe organisation.”
2.5km combining drawings and photographs
Inspired by street art, the “in the streets of the globe” exhibition was devised like a round the world, which awaits the solo sailors throughout a 2.5km route of drawings and photographs. Indeed, having admired the gallery of portraits of the twenty-nine skippers from this 2016-17 edition, spread across a large canvas cover spanning 180 metres in length, visitors will be able to cast off and take the start level with Rue Behic, and head around the three big capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) before once again linking onto the famous Les Sables d’Olonne canal and savouring the finish after numerous weeks of solo sailing.
In addition to the artistic dimension and the poetry radiating from the exhibition, the group’s aim was also to provide full scale representations to the public so as it can really immerse itself in the daily lives of the sailors and get the measure of the adventure in which these men are preparing to plunge. In the square housing the Palais de Justice, an 18.28m IMOCA monohull is drawn out on the ground, whilst silos accommodate a monumental 16-metre wave, reminiscent of those which will colour the oceans in the southern seas.
Sensitive to street art, as testified by the team’s new mermaid recently designed by American artist Cleon Peterson, and charmed by the group’s initiative and energy, Gitana Team has opted to be one of the exhibition’s partner-owners.
“In the streets of the globe”: a hundred or so works form a free roaming exhibition open to all 24/7.