« The cabin at the end of the garden »


It is no coincidence that for this summer the Orangery has invited visual artists of various disciplines to address the thematic of the cabin… In fact, looking at its very existence and situation in the town of Bastogne, one can observe similarities that are, at least, symbolic with the architecture of a cabin: built on the edge of Parc Elisabeth, in constant relation to the landscape with its bay windows, the Orangery is not immediately in full view… And if the proposition stresses the end of the garden this is because such places are undeniably areas of play, surprise, secret and discovery. The chosen title is a clear testimony to Willy Dory and Gaulthier Pierson’s intentions: to provide artists with the means of sharing their tangible visions or fantasised projections of the cabin.

The cabin, place of pleasures, dreams, taboos but also a place of storage, protection, an archetype of the house or the basis of all human architecture. It does not answer to a single definition and the linguistic analysis of the word is very much a witness to this particularity… The hut, shelter, refuge, shanty, teepee, caravan, cabin to name but a few.

It is often present on the margins of a more classical structure and its fragility is thus represented as much in the materials used to construct it as in its geographical situation, suggesting a precarious temporariness. This ephemeral habitation thus offers a vast poetic and artistic space of utopia and its complex definition between domesticity, wilderness, non-conformity, escape and the promise of freedom. From an early age children draw the perfect house whilst at the same time building cabins that do not respond to general norms, as if this gesture contained a transgression of the adult world and its codes.

To develop this idea the artists are also in relation with the world, the particular reality of daily life that they share with their contemporaries but also and above all with their own individual universes.  Universes that build themselves little by little in the need for solitude and resistance in order to conserve their visions and experimentations.  And if the artist’s workshop was simply a kind of cabin? An intimate place, sheltered from the outside world, a territory of formal exploration, a world apart, the ultimate defence against strict order, violence and the politically correct…. The workshop or cabin only open their doors to the Other if they are invited, expected or desired. But this secret place is also a place of conviviality, of the kind that is celebrated in exhibitions like this and today Willy Dory and Gauthier Pierson pay homage to this.

Caroline Coste

© Gauthier Pierson