We’re in Mérignac, between the Pin Galant concert hall and its associated tram stop and, yes, that might just be a massive sculpture re...

Mérignac’s 4:1-scale tracksuit bottoms and moccasins

We’re in Mérignac, between the Pin Galant concert hall and its associated tram stop and, yes, that might just be a massive sculpture representing a gentleman's legs and feet, dressed in tracksuit bottoms and wearing a pair of tassel loafers. Er, hello?

This unusual public artwork is entitled, aptly enough, "Pantalon de jogging et mocassins à pampilles". It was officially unveiled on July 12th 2014 and was produced by the artistic duo Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel. It was commissioned as part of a programme to install art pieces at points alongside Bordeaux metropole’s tramway network, within the wider framework of an initiative coordinated by France’s culture ministry and the Aquitaine region’s departments for artistic creation and cultural affairs. So there. 

The piece is a good four metres tall (yes, the artists opted for a grand 4:1 scale). Working our way up from the bottom, at its base is a 90-centimetre plinth made out of black granite from Lanhélin in Brittany. The tasteful leather-like moccasins and their tassels are made out of polished ochre-red marble, specifically Caunes-Minervois marble from the Languedoc region. They are topped off by the elegant tracksuit bottoms, complete with practical tie-up waist belt and handy back pocket, carved from a block of grey granite from the Côtes d’Armor area of Brittany. 

Details from the piece. You have to admit that both the loafers and trousers do look extremely comfortable and practical.
Who are the two artists responsible for the piece? Daniel Dewar, originally from the Forest of Dean region in south-western England, was born in 1976, and met Grégory Gicquel, one year his senior and from Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, when the two were studying at the École des Beaux-Arts in Rennes. The pair graduated in 2000 and have collaborated ever since, operating out of Paris.

Grégory Gicquel and Daniel Dewar,
picture source: www.actuart.org
The fruitful creative partnership has become firmly established on the international art scene and produced artwork that is mainly inspired by and depicts everyday icons of popular culture (including bathtubs, sinks and bidets), mixing styles, periods and techniques; Dewar & Gicquel are equally at home whether carving wood, cutting stone, moulding clay or weaving huge tapestries. A subtle touch of humour is a virtual constant in their work, and recognition by the artistic community includes being awarded the prestigious Marcel Duchamp prize in 2012.

There is definitely a touch of tongue-in-cheek humour in Dewar & Gicquel’s portrayal of the functional tracksuit bottoms and moccasins, both of which are items of clothing that manage to be seemingly timeless while simultaneously drifting in and out of fashion. The morning I was there was the day that Cuban leader Fidel Castro died, so viewing a gigantic pair of tracksuit trousers seemed to be a highly appropriate way to spend some time. Whatever, the piece is an oddball and surprising addition to the Mérignac landscape, so look out for it the next time you’re in the area!  

The trouser-shaped sculpture is clearly visible from line A trams.
> Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map: Pantalon de jogging et mocassins à pampilles, avenue Dorgelès, Mérignac.
> An impressive 17-page press package was produced to tie in with the work being unveiled in 2014 and features full biographical information about Dewar & Gicquel, an interpretation of the work that is far more poetic and wordier than anything Invisible Bordeaux could ever manage, and some interesting work-in-progress photos including those featured below. You'll find it here (the workshop photo has been borrowed from art-flox.com). 

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