We didn’t sleep in Saint-Malo, we didn’t look at the tractors on the beach at Cancale, we didn’t touch the wool at Ouessant, we didn’t walk in the forest of Brocéliande, we do not know the port of Brest, we didn’t board any boats and L’Étrave was closed. But we travelled around Brittany, leaving Rennes in a blue car and stopping at the end of the earth.
We scoured the Celtic bookstores for several days before finding the Barzaz Breiz, a compilation of popular Breton songs that it is customary to offer to newborns. An entry manual into a world full of rurality, dignity and secrets.
We had approached specialists, antique dealers, collectors, curators, economists and heirs. Canvases, embroidery, granite, wood, earthenware, marine objects and shelters, closed beds, cabinets, chests, dot, proportions, horizon, vegetation, colours, erosion, research and innovation, trade relations with China, corsairs, Ireland, flowers , hearts, sailboats, buckwheat, milk, Seiz Breur, chapels, St. Anne and all the saints, woods and undergrowth, lighthouses and the ocean. The road and our minds were truly marked.
Despite its 4 or 5 (?) Departments and the diversity of its landscapes, Brittany is as one. The interior is quite poor, unknown, hardworking and wet. The coasts compete in character, pink, blue, wild, touristy, Parisian, family orientated, sporty, literary, pictorial and religious.
Quality Breton crafts are listed, known, supported and popular. We don’t have much to add. But we can work. Rituals and traditions are told as fairy tales and legends. Especially when they have to do with love life, engagement, and marriage.
Being accepted by a Breton company is a success and a chance for young workers because they can stay in their country.
When it is loved, Brittany is adored. This is what a bearded sailor explains to a Catalan on the quay of a small harbour late one evening.
Alone on the pointe de Raz, a few meters from Notre-Dame des Naufragés, in front of a huge orange sun, we are agitated by the show of clashing sea currents, blown away by so much air that comes from so far and is yet so familiar to here.
* Armelle Kergall is a photographer. She studies psycho-genealogy, likes breakfast, holidays, life before going to school, disguises, family reunions and Brittany. Parisian, today she lives in Tokyo. She comes from a large family, a plethoric family t descended from King Arthur and has some of the most beautiful houses in Brittany. In 2005, Armelle Kergall starts a series of fluid projects which takes shape and sense over time: from the four corners of the world, she takes the portrait of her cousins, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brother, sisters, children, nephews , flowers and pets. Hundreds of people captured in their everyday environment, in rooms and in the middle of objects that tell their story. When talking about her work, Armelle Kergall quotes Emile Zola: “I am going to explain to you how a family, a small group of beings, behave in a society, blooming to give birth to ten, twenty individuals, who appear, at first glance, deeply dissimilar, but that study shows to be intimately related to each other. Heredity has its laws, like gravity. “
Notes for later :
– « I love Brittany, I find it wild and primitive. When my shoes resonate on granit floor, I hear the dull, matt and powerful sound that I look for in a painting” (letter to Emile Schuffenecker, Paul Gauguin, 1888)
– « The more the thread is respected, the longer it will last »
– subsistence economy
– « time laughs at those who do without it »
– make the most of your trade
– « it’s easier to be of your time than to be from somewhere » (Le cheval d’orgueil, Pierre-Jakez Hélias, 1975)
– « One is thin, the other fat. The first died of misery, the second from too much abundance. My son, that is why one must live in between in order to stay alive » (Le cheval d’orgueil, Pierre-Jakez Hélias, 1975)
– all the packages were made from raw wicker and all the household objects in white wicker
– OPN : Official Painter of the Navy.
– we plant a tree when a girl is born and we will use it to make her wedding wardrobe
– two furrows in the earth, a long board in the middle = 2 benches and a festive table>
– in the first half of the 20th century, it was modern to throw away things from the past
– ring of promise, pin of forgiveness
– « 2 hats a minute »
– « I embellish the whole of France »
– « guaranteed 3000 years »
– « industry does it better than us »
Anne Lévêque, Elisa Kovalenko, Armelle Kergall, Jean-Yves Chalm, Alain Le Berre, Yann Le Bohec, Didier Gouin, Yannick Le Floc’h, Christophe et Thierry Arcelin, Jean Lloveras
Manufacturers : AUX FILS DE L’ARZ JANE MICKELBOROUGH L’OSERAIE DE PEN AR HOAT – MICHEL LE GUILCHER LE MINOR