Ophélie - Spirits of the Huveaune

Studio Orta - 7050_1
Studio Orta - 7050_2

Date: 2013
Ref: 7001
Materials: Aluminium, polychrome
Dimensions: Height 200cm (3 + 2AP)
Exhibition history: 2013 le Parc Borély, Marseille
Courtesy: ©Lucy + Jorge Orta. Nouveaux Commanditaires, Bureau de Competences and Rives & Cultures Marseille

The Chemin des Fées is a parcours of five public sculptures Spirits that map the presence of the Huveaune, a coastal river in eastern Provence that originates in the massif of Sainte Baume and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at Marseille. These spirits, genii loci, invest five locations along the riverbanks and weave an unprecedented link between the past and the present. They invite visitors to discover a 30km trail along the Huveaune valley and new ways to explore the river. Drawings from historical texts, legends and stories surounding the foundation of Marsillia, the ancient port of Marseille the myths recount the strong feminine presence associated with the valley of the Huveaune. Spirits of the Huveaune refer to the universal water cycle and raise public awareness of environmental issues related to the river’s fate, questioning water management in the future, here as elsewhere.

The beautiful Ophelia of William Shakespeare’s The Tragic History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark has inspired countless poets and artists, from the Renaissance to our day. Arthur Rimbaud's poem begins his poem "Ophelia": "On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping / White Ophelia floats like a great lily."

Ophélie La fée du lac stands above the water’s surface in a delicate state of equilibrium. The incarnation of sensitivity, she also symbolises the return to origins, to union with nature. In the water cycle, Ophélie refers to the evaporation stage, during which water heated by the sun rises in the air as a vapor. Ophélie La fée du Lac was inaugurated May 31, 2013 at Borély Park.