Terre Memoire

About Nicole Guérin


Whether in traditional ethnic groups living under the towering volcanoes of eastern Africa or ancient Nippon, evidence abounds of the influence that certain sites on earth exercise on man’s imagination. Source of fears and fantasies in traditional civilisations, volcanic lands have crystallized local cultures around them.

My work is based particularly on these people and the culture which /characterizes them. So for this encounter around the Yakishime kiln in 2010, I decided to produce a specific work to honour those who have accompanied and inspired me throughout my artistic career.
I reconstituted the phenomenological approach of these traditional people’s understanding of the world by undertaking my own study of the terrifying mineral environment which inspires their beliefs and their cosmogony.With the same innocent perspective of those who have observed them for thousands of years, I undertook the process of describing and memorizing the geological phenomena and dynamics of the earth.
Just as the village elders gather at the foot of Nyiragongo to recount their ancient legends in awe of "he who emits smoke" I hoped to give tribute, with a sculpture,  to the flames and fire of these volcanic rocks, these telluric forces which presage the massive violence lurking in the earth’s subterranean depths.
Then, shaped in my hands into the form evoked by my interpretation, the clay will be exposed to the most extreme heat of the kiln. And just as volcanic rock, there the clay will become glowing and incandescent. The material’s deepest and most fundamental intimate matter will undergo a molecular transformation and give the clay and the sculpture nobility worthy of the black rocks of the great volcanoes.

Quentin Marquet. 2009

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Nicole Guerin, for her generosity in supporting the Terre Memoire Project. Nicole had planned to participate in the firing with a personal production of pieces, but unfortunately could not. S.K.

English translation, Melissa Massat