Institut d'étude des intervalles

Sculpture – Le Tiret (d’après Alice Rivaz)


Le Tiret (d’après Alice Rivaz)

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There are also two dates separated by a small hyphen. She doesn’t like looking at the hyphen that sums up the entire line of Madam’s life, her long life. But the sight of that tiny hyphen makes it seem it was nothing but a short moment between two large Doors, the Entrance and the Exit. And almost nothing in between. Thérèse will also have her own grave one day, her two dates, her first name and her last. She knows her Entrance date, has no idea about the Exit. But some people will learn it. And surely Sir will know. Perhaps he will even feel a little sad.

Alice Rivaz, « La Bonne », 1985
Le Tiret (d’après Alice Rivaz)
Aurélien Gamboni, 2020
Granit Cresciano, 400 x 132 x 40 cm
Réalisation: Vincent du Bois, atelier CAL’AS, Lancy
Collection de la Ville de Lancy
photo: François de Limoges

Intrigued by Alice Rivaz’s modest grave at Cimetière des Rois in Geneva, artist Aurélien Gamboni started to develop a research on the novelist in 2015. He focused in particular on a metaphor that Rivaz was very fond of: the little dash between the dates of birth and death on our graves, supposed to contain our entire life. He then met with Rivaz specialists, family members, translators and other persons who had played a role in the creation of her funerary monument. The first artistic gesture consisted in producing a series of bronze casts of the small dash on her grave, that he offered to all those who had contributed to the research by sharing their knowledge. 

Aurélien Gamboni presented a lecture-performance on the subject, first as part of the exhibition « Open End » in 2016, and one year later in the chapel of Cimetière des Rois. Invited to the Bex&Arts Triennale in 2020, he then imagined a sculpted version of the dash: « Le Tiret (d’après Alice Rivaz) ». Carved in granite from the Swiss Alps by sculptor Vincent du Bois (Atelier CAL’AS), this minimal, four-meters-long sculpture presents itself as a large typographic sign embedded in the landscape. Materialized in stone, the dash is an invitation to consider this image of thought that Alice Rivaz passed on to us: an image that questions our own perception of the times we live in, as well as this moment of tension in between past(s) and future(s), that we inhabit. The dash becomes a shelter, a platform or a simple bench, dedicated to host a series of events involving writers, philosophers, educators, musicians, activists, performers and other persons committed to the causes that were dear to Rivaz.

In Bex, a first series of discussions and public readings were held on the sculpture, in collaboration with Association Alice Rivaz. It was also accompanied by the booklet Le Tiret, an edition published by Villa Bernasconi, featuring a selection of testimonies gathered during the preliminary investigation phase.

The sculpture was later hosted in the courtyard of Collège Calvin in Geneva, in front of the Collège pour Adultes Alice Rivaz (COPAD), before finally finding a long-term location at the art center of Villa Bernasconi. The institution located in Lancy proposed to house the sculpture in the park Bernasconi, and to support the continuation of the program of encounters and performances for the next ten years, from September 2021 to August 2031. In order to carry out this program, a new collective was created, building from the growing number of people that had been gathered during the previous stages of the project. United by their shared interest in Alice Rivaz’s work and engagements, they created a new entity: l’Institut d’étude des intervalles – aka the Institute for Interval studies.