‘The sculpture here isn’t just the stone, it’s the home, it’s the entire trail’ [Andy Goldsworthy]
Refuge d'Art is a single, integral work of art, to be visited over a ten-day hike. Created by the British artist Andy Goldsworthy in partnership with the Musée Gassendi and the Réserve Géologique de Haute-Provence, it is unique in Europe, involving an itinerary of 150 km that traverses a number of exceptional landscapes. It brings together hiking and contemporary art, thereby highlighting both nature and culture.
Linking up three Sentinels (stone cairns, each one located in the heart of a valley), the circuit follows ancient paths among the remnants of an agricultural way of life that was once intense. Goldsworthy wanted to mark the circuit with Refuges in the form of disused houses belonging to the non-protected rural heritage, including chapels, farms and sheepfolds. These have now been restored, and a specially-designed sculpture has been incorporated into each one. They provide shelter for a pause along the route, or indeed, in some cases, the possibility of an overnight stay.
This is the world's largest collection of works by Andy Goldsworthy in a public space. But, far from being a form of cultural overkill, it reveals itself gradually, often at the rate of just one Refuge or Sentinel in a day's walk.