No one does dreamy and conceptual like Cao | Perrot Studio. Working out of Paris and Los Angeles, Vietnamese born landscape artist Andy Cao and French landscape designer Xavier Perrot create gardens with a sensual, meditative quality. These experimental and contemplative projects range from a small courtyard installation for the Paris-based fashion house, Kenzo, to a 600-acre Guangming Central Park in Shenzhen, China. Irrespective of scale, with each one, the duo expresses extraordinary new ideas using components ranging from simple, everyday materials to complex, luminescent SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.
Cloud Terrace, their conceptual garden installation that opened on April 5, 2012, at the historic estate of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Washington DC, has generated a strong emotional response. In fact, we would be surprised if visitors, having been transported to that special place of dreams to which all good art takes us, ever bothered with formal parterre gardens or naturalistic planting schemes again. Cloud Terrace is just that – a vast and dramatic cloud created with hand-sculpted steel wire mesh, suspended above the property’s Arbor Terrace. Dangling from it are 10,000 glistening SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS that suggest raindrops gathering over the terrace, with the whole effect mirrored in a reflecting pool underneath.
Meanwhile, the French city of Beauvais is set to host installations by Cao | Perrot Studio at two ancient cultural landmarks from May 11–September 16, 2012. Located in the elegant 13/14th century ruins of the church of St Barthélemy, White Dome is a shimmering cupola made with thousands of clear SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS dangling from a curtain of transparent fishing lines. The artwork hangs from the soaring ceiling of the church’s chancel, its shower of light symbolizing the purification of the soul.
At the same time, the newly restored medieval leper colony of Saint Lazare invites visitors to walk across a pond filled with luxuriant, startlingly green duckweed towards a hemisphere of 5,000 balls of red glass held aloft by slender metal rods. This is Red Bowl, and it was inspired by the biblical theme of the anointing of the cured lepers.
The great joy of this duo’s work is that it is enigmatic, defying categorization, which provokes a response and makes us think. “Our work,” say the duo, simply, “blends landscape and art to create a place for dreaming.” Expect to be profoundly moved.
Copyright: Photographer Stephen Jerrome