Vestiges á Sarzay

The rich collection of objects in the Sarzay Castle have survived generations of use. Whatever their function in the past, these fascinating objects today evoke questions that cannot always be answered. Thus, while we wonder about their past, we are free to project our own meaning onto them. For this exhibition, I created works around a small selection of objects that still intrigued me long after my visit in 2021. The visitor is invited to find the original objects in the castle.


Now obsolete, the terracotta pots of Sarzay were used for cooking, eating and drinking. One can almost find in their patina the echoes of a thousand generations of conviviality. Using ancient techniques, I made a series of terracotta pots, all the while marvelling at the sophistication and skill of our Neolithic ancestors.


In a dusty alcove, an exhausted armchair; torn leather arms and knees, nevertheless a beautiful old crone. One dares not sit down for fear of precipitating decline into the dust. The compassion I felt for Sarzay’s armchair inspired me to give new life to a decaying antique armchair found in an old barn. Prompted by the image of the chipped Madonna statue in the Sarzay chapel, this now comfortable chair invites you to rest in its compassionate arms.

The broken chair
What happens to you once we have changed?
When those cracks cannot be repaired again
When you’ve lost the pieces that gave you purpose.
Poem by B.J. Nordell, 2020


No castle is without legends, symbols and emblems. In Sarzay, you will find a stained glass window lined with salamanders that look like fire-breathing dragons. Salamanders were believed to have the power to control fire and make good defenders.


THE LEGEND OF ‘SALAMANDRA’ dates back to Pliny: Nutrisco and estinguo – “thrive on the good and eliminate the bad”.

SENTINELS ON THE PROWL The marten makes a perfect night-time sentry. Although it looks cute it weaves a dance to hypnotise its prey, killing quickly and with great agility.


Pangolins defend themselves from natural predators by curling up into a ball. This makes them easy prey for poachers. Pangolins are the most heavily trafficked mammal in the world. They are poached for their scales which are used in traditional medicine.

Visitors are invited to find pangolins hiding in the castle: Take one home and your donation will go to the African Pangolin Working Group. This organization is dedicated to the conservation of African pangolins and is concerned with all aspects of their situation. They work with law enforcement to recover pangolins and testify in court, reintroduce pangolins to the wild, conduct
research and education.


What lived here before the castle existed and still continue to this day? A million life cycles of insects, birds and mammals have passed between these ancient walls that offer refuge. The remains of rodents, snakes and even cats are found in the stone walls. Their offspring always live beside us. Like an ever-present litany of thoughts that emerge in strange forms as we dream, or like whispered secrets, they move along the roof beams as we sleep.


Burlap, found objects, pigments, charcoal, ash, shellac, ink on wooden board. 2022.