June 21, 2024
Fort Sexy

Erotic view inspires an artist to turn a military installation into an energy-conserving arts center


With its red rooftops, medieval castle and rocky beaches, the seaside village of Collioure, near Perpignan, has inspired artists for generations. But for the artist Marc-Andre Figueres, who calls himself MA2F, the primary source of creative motivation is the phallic tower rising over the bay.

It was this 15th century tower, along with the shape of the Collioure Bay, that inspired his work, “The Erotic Trilogy of the Bell Tower of Collioure” (La Trilogie Erotique du Clocher de Collioure).

The trilogy includes a book, and two complementary exhibitions.

Twelve empty gold frames, each attached to a viewing station made up of a pole and steps, are strategically placed around Collioure for “Point 2 Vue Erotique Autor.” Each frame captures a different angle of the bell tower and explores MA2F’s theory of eroticism and spirituality.

Frame 12 is positioned near the crumbling 19th century Fort Dugommier, which offers a breathtaking view of Collioure Bay and the Mediterranean Sea. It was this view, showing the rigid masculinity of the bell tower juxtaposed against the feminine shape of the Collioure Bay, that inspired MA2F’s theory of the erotic bell tower.

“I’m inspired by the light and the changing of the colors,” said MA2F, as he stood at the top of Fort Dugommier and pointed to the view of the Collioure Bay and vineyards behind him “Also, you can see a lot of bright colors here from the view, with the blues and greens from the Mediterranean Sea.”

“He loves to find connections and meanings between things,” said Florence Delseny-Sobra, who has known and worked with MA2F for five years. ?He likes to see that everything has a meaning, that everything around him was meant to be.”

Born in Perpignan in 1959, MA2F has continually embraced his connection to the Catalan towns close to him, even as he’s developed a national reputation. His paintings and sculptures have been displayed in galleries in Paris and abroad, and he is known for the ?sun paint” he invented in 1990. Sun paint uses a special pigment that reacts to solar energy and changes color with the varying types of ultraviolet rays.

“He really lives like an artist,” said Delseny-Sobra. ?When you start talking about his exhibitions and what he is doing in Collioure with “Point 2 Vue Erotique Autor” and all the frames that he did, he is really into it. You can really feel his creativity.”

MA2F’s passion for Collioure’s scenic beauty was a core inspiration for his purchase of Fort Dugommier more than 15 years ago. The artist is working to restore the dilapidated stone fort, built in the 1840s, and to turn it into an art center, and a research center for renewable energy.

“Here will be a prototype for all sustainable energies systems,” said MA2F. “We believe we are creating new systems to use energy now, and actually when we go through all the renovation works we can see that the water from the rain is collected, and we will use the geothermal energy to keep the fort at an average temperature.”

The construction work is done by groups of about a dozen 16-to 22-year old volunteers at a time, half of them male and half female, who work in two-week stints each summer under the direction of three professionals.

“The work here makes sense for this age range because, indeed, this kind of work is simple enough for all ages,” said MA2F. “Seventy percent are from France, and the rest are from all over the world.”

The volunteers, who start at 7 a.m. and finish by 1 p.m. every day, are rebuilding the fort without the help of machinery. They use wheelbarrows, picks and shovels, as well as their own brute strength, to excavate buried structures and reconstruct stone walls.

The restored fort will include gallery space, and a research center where artists can work and display their art. And for MA2F, there will be an apartment and studio that will feature a ideal view of the erotic bell tower, and the bay that first inspired him.

This article was adapted from InPerpignan, a multimedia project of ieiMedia and the San Francisco State University journalism department.

One comment about “Fort Sexy”

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