As we restore Lescure and inevitably make changes, I record as much as I can with my camera. I’m documenting the fading history of the estate as well as capturing the mesmerizing beauty of its derelict buildings. In what used to be the servants’ quarters we’ve done our first heavy duty demolishing. We’re making room for a boiler room that will accommodate a wood furnace beast, which will provide the entire house with heating and warm water. Based on the philosophy that a smooth household is best run with servants out of sight, the castle’s former kitchen is located in the basement in the north corner of the building. The dropped ceiling went halfway into the windows, which cut out most of the daylight and created tiny rooms for the maids on the floor above. With the floors, beams and walls covered with black sooth, gutting these spaces was a dirty job. Still, the rooms also revealed a strange beauty.
Can time turn just about anything into art? Many a photographer of crumbling cities and abandoned factories seems to think so. I’m also reminded of an exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 2007: “Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art”. Curated by Axel Vervoordt and Mattijs Visser, the exhibit treated visitors to a wonder cabinet display, from archeological objects to a scorched Tintoretto on cracked and faded fresco walls. The fortunes of a ramshackle Chinese cupboard were presented as performance art through time. Curatorial madness? Perhaps, but it’s poetic folly I can very much relate to. And one that makes it easy to ignore well-meant advice about giving the walls of our new boiler room a fresh coat of paint. Brush away beauty discovered in unexpected places? Surely not!