2021 edition
Place Royale
Le Naufrage de Neptune
Ugo Schiavi

Sculptor, Ugo Schiavi explores various techniques and materials using a powerful language of symbols. Imbued with an aesthetic inspired by ruins and fragments, his artwork can be said to produce present-tense relics.

As a plunderer of shapes and symbols, Schiavi provokes a delicate sort of “crash”, creating works whose deliberately fragile execution in a given context can appear violent, thus confusing spectators in their relationship to a particular space and work.

By drawing inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel The Drought (1964), Ugo Schiavi has created a fragment of the world on Place Royale – one that sits on the frontier between past, present and future. Exploring Nantes’ fluvial and maritime symbols, where the Place Royale fountain is itself an allegory – with its statue of Amphitrite, goddess of the Sea – Schiavi reappropriates these symbols of water, travel and prosperity, staging a shipwreck of a fragmented, pierced and rusting merchant boat. By submerging the fountain’s statues, this massive heap of steel is invaded by the ebb and flow of water, which weeps and oozes from every hole in its hull.