Next to the Jardin des Plantes, the six hectares (15 acres) of Cimetière de la Bouteillerie cemetery offer beautiful views of Nantes. Created in 1774, it also has the distinctive feature of having the war graves of WWI soldiers – including many graves of German soldiers.
Gaëlle Le Guillou designed a walking tour where visitors see original monuments of funereal art, unique graves and the tombs of local notables.
She also added three vegetal works of art to the cemetery.
For the past few years, Gaëlle Le Guillou’s work as a sculptor-ceramist has revolved around funereal art, questioning our relationship to death, as well as our practices and customs in cemeteries. In the hopes of rediscovering the relationship we once had with these places – especially in the 19th century – the artist hopes to encourage the public to walk through them and perhaps find themselves. Although these sites remind us of our history, they can also be meeting places, where creativity and conviviality come together.
On the ossuary, she designed a poetic island blending natural as well as traditional ceramic flowers. She has also created vegetable and fruit “graves,” experimenting to find a new funereal art that is moving and participatory.
© La Promenade (Cimetière de la Bouteillerie), Gaëlle Le Guillou - Voyage à Nantes 2017. Photo Bernard Renoux