2023 edition
Château des ducs de Bretagne
Le temps d’une Pause - Allégorie de Nantes
Olivier Texier

Statue created by Gilles CUDEK and Maya ENEVA, sculptors in Nantes


Public statues can be found everywhere in our fair city. Whether they’re standing tall in squares, parks, or on top of public buildings, they watch us and communicate the messages and values their makers had imbued them with. But what would happen if they left their pedestals and shook up the town?

Olivier Texier devotes his time to drawing absurd illustrations and comics filled with bizarre and unreasonable characters. Armed with only a pencil and a battalion of sculptors, he plays a game of “copying” some of our statues to a life-size scale of 1:1, thus freeing Generals Cambronne and Mellinet from their martial posturing. He also offers the feminine allegories of Nantes and the Loire a chance to come down from their monumental fountain in Place Royale and discover a city and river they’ve been embodying for nearly 160 years.

Le Temps d une Pause. Esquisses

Allégorie de Nantes (1865), Place Royale

Daniel Ducommun du Locle, marbre

Towering over the monumental fountain in Place Royale, which symbolizes Nantes’ river and maritime vocation, this allegory of the city is represented upright in drapery, wearing a castle for a crown.

This is a statue of Amphitrite, the goddess of the sea, who would normally be recognizable by the bronze trident of her husband Poseidon/Neptune that she once held in her right hand.

Today, the trident is missing after first being stolen by a student in May 1968, then replaced many times by copies until 2007, when it was permanently removed following yet another theft that left the statue’s hand broken. In her left hand, Amphitrite clutches a caduceus, also known as a Staff of Hermes, in reference to the city’s motto: “May Neptune favour the traveller.”

Olivier Texier was born in 1972 in Nantes, where he lives and works. He has collaborated with almost all French-language graphic novel publishers, from Les Requins Marteaux to Delcourt, by way of Cornélius and Le Dernier Cri.