Fonds regional d'art contemporain,
FRAC Bretagne
19 Avenue André Mussat, 35011 Rennes cedex, France

March 22 – May 11, 2014

THE PORT COTON BLUES SUITE is a box set, contained within a saxophone case, documenting my activities on Belle-Île-en-mer in France. From October 8 – November 8, 2010 I was an artist-in-residence at “Le Centre du monde,” housed in a 19th century two-story house in the hamlet of Kervilahouen. During this time I played the saxophone throughout the island: in the open air, to farm animals and inside architectural spaces. The box contains a series of videos including: Moaning for Monet, Animal Serenades, En Plein Air, Cave Jams, Blockhaus Jams, Bunker Jams, Live at the Citadelle Vaubon (La Poudriere Circulaire and Les Cachots) and Live at Le Grand Phare; 6 audio CDs; two folios of photographs, documents and letters and one book, Letters to Poly: An Epistolary Tale of the Port Coton Blues…Reds, Yellows, Oranges, Greens and Other Colors.

When Henri Matisse painted on Belle-Île in 1896, he wrote, “A new country is often, when it is deeply interesting, like a very jumbled manuscript which has to be deciphered.”

My piece is both a memoir of my activities during this period and a biography of Francois Hippolyte Guillaume, aka Poly. Poly had been Claude Monet’s porter in the autumn of 1886 when the painter made 39 paintings there – one of them a portrait of Poly. I was told that the residence of Le Centre du monde had been Poly’s home in the 1800s. In order to narrate my project, I wrote letters to Poly to describe the motives and context of my activities and also to learn what I could about the history of the island from him. (He was born on September 09, 1829, and at the time I did not know the date of his death, so I wrote under the assumption that he was alive at 184 years old). Subjects of the letters include biographical information about Poly, John Peter Russell – the little-known Australian Impressionist painter – Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Vincent Van Gogh, Adolphe Sax, the Nazi occupation of France, the Atlantikwall, John Coltrane, Paul Virilio, Anatole le Braz and Synesthesia.

The epistolary tale is one of creative production on Belle-Île-en-mer from the time of John Peter Russell’s twenty-year residence from 1886/8-1908, where he invited many artists to paint, and Le Centre du monde, which invited international artists to produce there from 2003-2011. From 2014, the residency Le Centre du monde has been renamed Le Grand Phare and continues to invite artists to Kervilahouen. From February 24-March 8, 2014 I returned as the first resident of Le Grand Phare to continue my search for Poly.

The Port Coton Blues Suite is now part of the collection of the FRAC Bretagne. The following documentation is the first iteration of its presentation. The box and its contents can be shown in various arrangements.


Port Coton Blues Suite 1



Port Coton Blues Suite 2



Port Coton Blues Suite 3



Port Coton Blues Suite 4


Port Coton Blues Suite 5



Port Coton Blues Suite 6



Port Coton Blues Suite 7



Port Coton Blues Suite 8



Port Coton Blues Suite 14



Port Coton Blues Suite 10



Port Coton Blues Suite 12



Port Coton Blues Suite 13


Port Coton Blues Suite 15




Port Coton Blues Suite 16



Port Coton Blues Suite 17



Port Coton Blues Suite 18




Port Coton Blues Suite 19

Port Coton Blues Suite 20


Port Coton Blues Suite 24



Port Coton Blues Suite 21




Port Coton Blues Suite 22




Port Coton Blues Suite 28




Port Coton Blues Suite 23




Port Coton Blues Suite 25




Letters to Poly