YES Masterclass #1


YES masterclass in Tours, France

The first YES masterclass is hosted by TALM and takes place in Tours area (France). It will be an attempt to bring together the new issues of production and reflection related to contemporary sculpture in a specific context: the landscape of the banks of the Loire. This site will be introduced as a situation, as a foundation, of what is thinkable and achievable in such a context, with analytical and critical insights, of the implementation of dialogues and transcriptions around gestures and outlines.

It is an attempt to make “society”. Since the writings of Bruno Latour, a rereading of Gaston Bachelard’s texts – and notably the four elements – proposes four sensitive points: air, earth, water, fire. In this perspective, this first masterclass of the Young European Sculpture project is built on four workshops, each working on one of these elements, accompanied by Cécile Hartmann, Vincent Voillat, Cyril Zarcone and Thierry Mouillé, professors from TALM-Tours Sculpture Department.

The students will experiment in a unique and preserved ecological context – in the middle of nature, on the site of La Rabouilleuse, École de Loire – and will try to enable a dialogue between theoretical points of view, technical approaches and learning methods related to the definitions of contemporary sculpture on a European scale. Professors from the partner schools will be involved in the observation, collection and production of elements needed to qualify these experiences.

The students will be invited to work with elements of the landscape and shared moments, in order to address the specific issues of sculptural practice in the contemporary context: materials, circulation, scales of artworks, perpetuation, inscription in the social fabric, mediation, experience, etc. To close this masterclass – which promises to be a rewarding experience of encounters, discussions, reflections and creations –, the participants will give an account of the experiences gathered during the week.

Thierry Mouillé

The On Air session proposes a simple protocol for each day of the workshop: the challenge of not using the English language, but, instead, the languages of each participant (Portuguese, French, Latvian and Italian) in order to compose dialogues, texts, artistic proposals that develop the exchange based on means of translation imagined by the students; air, breath, voice, echo, gestures. An exchange on notions and expressions in the air, from one language to another.

At the end of the day, the experimentations will take the form of a radio broadcast (a 5-minute live), with a second protocol: each one will present a form in one of the shared languages, highlighting a foreign language to the one who is speaking.

‘L’air de rien’ is a French phrase that is used to describe a gesture, a comment, literally ‘the air of nothing’, with casualness or without any fuss.

The main figure of this proposition is Salvatore in the novel The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. In the framework of a European project about sculpture, it seems relevant to question the translations about what everyone understands by sculpture as a work in ambient air.

“The digital experience, the globalization of economies, invites us to live in a medieval age. It is the result of a thousand years of the exchange of data compressed into a few milliseconds without the time for a breath”. Thierry Mouillé

Translated extract from the article “La Folie de la traduction”(1):

“The multiple language of Salvatore
Salvatore does not speak only one language, but all the languages in one or, as Eco says, ‘all the languages and none'(2). The novel explains that this is the deliciously mad fruit of his nomadic life, because, as Adso tells so, the madman had invented ‘a language of his own, made up of shreds of the languages with which he had come into contact'(3). An exceptional find: a character who speaks all the languages with which he has come into contact, and who therefore, in a monastery where the rule is to speak Latin, speaks this language and at the same time all the languages born of Latin on the European continent.

Salvatore gabbles a mixture of Latin ‘vernacularizations’ with Italian, French, Spanish, Provençal and various dialects. The narrator admits that he is no longer able to reproduce this language with precision, but roughly speaking, Salvatore freely draws terms from the lexical cauldron of the neo- Latin languages, composing sentences like the following one:

Mais Salvatore non est insipiens ! Bonum monasterium, et aqui on baffre et on prie dominum nostrum. Et el reste valet une queue de cerise. Et amen. No?”

Source: LATINI, Beatrice. “La Folie de la traduction. Salvatore dans Le Nom de la rose de Umberto Eco”. L’esprit européen. [online]. 2020 [accessed on April 14th 2023]. Available at this link: https://www.

(1) “The madness in translation”
(2) ECO, Umberto. Le Nom de la rose. Paris : Grasset, 1985. p.54.
(3) Ibid.

Cécile Hartmann

This workshop will take the form of walks along the Loire by boats and on foot. The question is to activate observation sessions related to water movements and the formation of the particular islands and ecosystems of this wild river which is the last wild river in France.

The water will be filmed and collected in various places, considered as a vital and primordial material. The river landscape can itself become a sound sculpture, a “form-landscape”. A collection of water in containers will also be used to produce a sculptural installation. Mixed with clay or spread on the fire, the water will at the same time come into dialogue with the other elements of the collective workshop.

A research will also be conducted on the gestures and tools used to carry water. How to activate gestures that have disappeared today but which could, in this ecological crisis that we are experiencing, become necessary again?

Vincent Voillat

From elements collected in the landscape, it will be a question of stories, and the construction of necessary conditions to produce situations of otherness with the non-human.

Vincent Voillat explores the links between a territory (real or virtual), the flows that cross it, its inhabitants, and their memories. He studies more particularly the relationship between the landscape and its perception. His approach is based on sampling: geological extraction of rocks, study of strata, archaeological excavation or study of plants.

He also draws on popular culture for the materials of his works: music, found objects, legends. He detects in the landscape of intervention the trace of bodies and reveals their imprint, their persistence and their impressions on the memory. Through association, juxtaposition or reinterpretation, he reinvents a conceptual territory in which writing and text allow these heterogeneous forms to be linked.

Cyril Zarcone

Mud is a middle ground between earth and water.
Nobody knows if it will become liquid or solid.

It is a medium similar in a kitchen to kneading flour with salt water.
It is a child’s game, that has become adult, the modelling.
It is the trace of a colored clay on the rock walls.
It is the terrifying image of the torrents of mud.
It is the cooking in turning into brick.
It is the dilution in order to extract gold.

The mud composes the middle of the elements.