T r e a s u r e   H u n t

23ct gold giraffe’s eyelash, laser engraved and hand painted Nebrasina limestone

Le Jardin des Plantes, Paris


In 1827, the first giraffe ever to set foot on French soil arrived at Le Jardin des Plantes. This giraffe, a gift for the King, reached Paris after an extraordinary journey and grueling trek that began in southern Sudan and involved more than 5000 km. She was first carried on the back of a camel, sailed down the Nile to Alexandria, then across the Mediterranean in a larger vessel, before walking on foot from Marseille to Paris. The Jardin des Plantes finally became the home of this famous giraffe, named Zarafa, who lived there happily for 18 years until her death in 1845.

Treasure Hunt reflects upon this wonderful tale to help one to consider the wealth of remnants that nestle within the Jardin des Plantes, whether visible, hidden or buried.

The artist has chosen to place a 23ct gold giraffe’s eyelash within the gardens of Le Jardin des Plantes.

A personal fictitious map remains for visitors to interact with, evoking possible trajectories of where this golden eyelash might lie hidden. The map is engraved into stone and is an amalgamation of several different maps of le Jardin des Plantes, drawn from different periods in history and weaved together at different scales. This map or trail marker - receptive to movement, repositioning and spinning - is like a compass without fixed position or destination.

The eyelash, trailing somewhere within the gardens, becomes like a fossil, accentuating the long history and purpose these gardens have previously served.

Treasure Hunt mentally maps a garden full of treasures, remnants, histories and imaginary orientations and incites visitors in a quest to search for this glistening long golden giraffe’s eyelash, as they walk and wander through the gardens.

By evoking the memory of this place and subtly transforming the way the public encounter the gardens, Clark wishes to create sites for contemplation, voyaging and reverie.

Link to FIAC Hors Les Murs 2015 photos and video

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