The French-Swiss land artist Saype is starting his 30s with a grand idea of hands joined across the earth.
“I think that we are in a moment of humanity when the world is becoming polarized and part of the population is choosing to withdraw into itself,” he says. So symbolically he is spraying massive patches of grass with images of hands joined in cities across the world – including Paris, Andorre, Geneva, Berlin, Ouagadougou, Yamoussoukro, and Turin.
Today we take you to his latest installation of three clasped hands in Istanbul, particularly symbolic because it is at the precipice of so-called East and West. He says that since he would like his monumental works to be bridges painted between cultures, the city of Istanbul constitutes an essential stage, at the crossroads of the worlds between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
“Istanbul is really on two continents between Europe and Asia,” he says, “and it’s amazing because we’re going to be able to connect the two here. We made three frescoes; a fresco on the European side, a floating barge covered with grass that will cross the Bosphorus, and a fresco on the Asian continent in Beykoz.”
The three frescoes were created using biodegradable pigments and included one artwork at Bogazici University (2500 m2) on the European side of the country, a second one was created in the Beykoz district (1600 m2) on the Asian side and the two of them were linked by an artwork painted on a floating barge in the Golden Horn of the Bosphorus (2200 m2). Valentin Flauraud stood in for Saype at the barge.
The work carried out in Istanbul was benefitted by support from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş, the Municipality of Beşiktaş, the Boğaziçi University, the Consulate General of Switzerland, the French Institute in Turkey and UPS.
“I am convinced that it is only together that humanity will be able to respond to the biggest challenges it will have to overcome them.”