all pictures (2017) courtesy of Jean François Barrat
from his weblog Zoudou artiste singulier
On the Place du Marché (market square) in Gençay, France, just behind the town hall, an old shop was transformed into an art environment named Le monde de M. Audin (Mr Audin’s world).
Life and works
Born July 1, 1957 in Poitiers, Pascal Audin grew up in a family that treated him with denigration. which meant that as an adult he experienced problems in finding a place in life. Although he had jobs such as painter at a construction company and stone cutter, he also was homeless for a couple of years and for some time he was taken to a therapeutic center.
The turning point in his life came at age forty, when a friend asked him why he did not try making visual art.
Later looking back at that moment, Audin said: “Ça a fait tilt dans ma tête, et depuis je peins. Je peins comme les enfants, de manière instinctive. Cela sort de mes tripes, de mon coeur” (It clicked in my head and since then I paint. I paint like children, instinctively. It’s out of my guts, out of my heart) ¹.
His colorful paintings are one and all joy and bear witness to a great imagination and curiosity.
In 2002 Audin settled in Gençay, a small town south of Poitiers in the west of France with some 1800 inhabitants. At the market place in the center of town he could rent an old, rather dilapidated shop.
He used this shop both as his dwelling house and as his workshop. A self-taught artist, Audin produced a large quantity of all kind of artworks, such as totems, paintings and postcards. He decorated the interior and exterior walls with frescoes, installed a variety of items, such as a collection of decorated snow/christmasballs or a collection of keys added to a ceiling….
The artist’s house became an art environment, which soon began to contribute to the identity of the town. As the painter of Gençay Audin became a central personality of the community.
He was invited to take part in various expositions and he liked to cooperate with schools in realizing large frescoes together with the school children.
An association Les amis de Monsieur Audin was formed, which in 2009 published a weblog with information about his expositions and photographs of his artworks and house.
The future of the site is assured
When in 2015 a rental period of Audi’s house/museum/art environment would expire, the owner indicated his intention to sell the property.
Since this could have meant that Audin had to leave and that much of his artwork might get lost, the Association of friends became active and organized a crowdfunding action, about which newspapers reported.
In august 2015 it was announced that with € 15.000 on donations from friends and with financial support from the Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gençay and from the Région Poitou-Charente, the necessary resources were available to buy the house.
* Article C’est chez Pascal Audin (march 8, 2017) by Jean François Barrat on his weblog ZOUDOU Artiste Singulier. A translation of this text into english is available on OEE texts
* Weblog Les amis de monsieur Audin (july 2009 – february 2013)
* La Maison de Pascal Audin on Facebook
* Video in the context of the crowdfunding action (1’41”, Youtube, uploaded june 2015
Video by newspaper La Nouvelle République
(2’53”, Daily Motion, uploaded april 2915)
¹ The quote is from an article in La Nouvelle République (29-1-2011), reprinted in facsimile on the website Les amis de monsieur Audin
Le monde de M. Audin
Place du marché
Gençay, Nouvelle-Acquitaine region, France