Back to the Fields
Installation including plants, bones, agricultural tools and minerals, dimensions variable, 2015/2016
Back to the Fields brings to life the French Republican Calendar.
In use from 1793 until 1805, the calendar temporarily redefined and rationalised the Gregorian Calendar, stripping it of all religious references in post-revolutionary France. Months and weeks were restructured and seasons and days renamed in collaboration with artists, poets and horticulturalists to reflect nature and agriculture.
Bringing together all 360 items used to denote the days of the year – such as a lettuce, a cart, wax, a turnip, honey, a fir tree, ivy, figs, mercury, lava, moss, tuna, a pheasant, an axe – the installation becomes a tangible calendar. The title of the installation comes from the original title of the French folk song Il Pleut, Il Pleut, Bergère (It Rains, It Rains, Shepherdess) written by the Republican Calendar collaborator, Fabre d’Églantine, who allegedly recited the song’s lyrics calmly at his own execution.
10 Ventôse CCXXIII
At Camden Arts Centre a series of events were programmed to reflect the five or six Sanculottides (complimentary or festival days), guests to responded to the days – Virtue, Talent, Labour, Conviction, Honour and Revolution through discussion, performance and magic.