A 14-meter-long sperm whale has just run aground on the beach in Le Havre, but rest assured the animal is doing very well! This is one of the monumental works exhibited all summer in Le Havre. The corten steel animal is signed by the Van Lieshout workshop.
A few days ahead of schedule, The Whale, that is the name of this monumental work, is being assembled on the beach in Le Havre. Between the Le Ponant building and the Villa Maritime, resting on props like a fairing boat, the 14-metre-long sperm whale is the work of Joep Van Lieshout. This order from the Pasino du Havre will echo the works of A Summer in Le Havre until September 2, 2022.
Video: a giant sperm whale on the beach of Le Havre
The Dutch artist lives and works in Rotterdam where he founded the Atelier Van Lieshout. And this is not a first for the Pasino du Havre. For its first biennial of contemporary art in 2006, the leisure, catering and gaming establishment had already called on the artist for a work that has remained in the memory: the rectum bar placed on the esplanade of the casino.
This time, Atelier Van Lieshout was inspired by Herman Melville’s philosophical novel, Moby-Dickto create this spectacularly sized sperm whale. The Whale illustrates Ahab’s nemesis and Jonah’s prison. Made of steel, a metal created and welded by man, it rests on the rollers like a boat being refitted.
Portholes reveal a man seated inside the sculpture. Is it the artist, Jonah praying for his salvation, or Captain Ahab questioning his conduct? The work thus presented embodies both human ingenuity, which the great sperm whale has triumphed over, and unconquered nature.
On the pebbles where the first curious immortalize “the beast”, the team proceeds to assemble the last pieces of corten. On both sides, through the five portholes, in a few days, young and old will be able to discover the interior of the animal whose metal entrails shelter characters…
You will have to wait until Friday, June 3 to approach The Whale and unravel its mystery.