eric giraudet de boudemange the story of water, milk and peewit eggs

In 2015, visual artist Eric Giraudet de Boudemange (France, 1983) travelled through Friesland in search of local stories and traditions. He learned fierljeppen (pole jumping over ditches), searched for peewit eggs and discovered a great deal about the endangered meadow birds. This year he made a hall-filling landscape of artworks for the Museum of Friesland. Shapes, lines and brightly coloured objects illustrate the relationship between Friesland’s landscape and the traditions of the province. The exhibition Eric Giraudet de Boudemange: The story of water, milk and peewit eggs presents well-known and new works by the artist.

The works of Eric Giraudet de Boudemange are playful and humorous interpretations of traditional (folk) games. They connect ancient traditions like fierljeppen to current developments, such as the increasingly intensive agricultural activities. Together with the professional fierljeppers and brothers, Oane and Ysbrand Galama, he designed five fenpole sculptures with carnavalesque colours and patterns. The fenpoles are included in the exhibition, along with a film that shows the artist learning this Frisian sport.

Eric Giraudet de Boudemange, Illusions of the Frisian Landscape, 2015, 5 houten polsstokken. Collectie Fries Museum, Leeuwarden.

silicone skins

Another video is inspired by wilsterflappen. For this tradition, a bird-catcher blows on a flute made of sheep's bone to attract golden plovers. Little digi-birds have been placed here and there in the hall. When the sound of a flute is heard in the film, these electronic birds respond with happy chirping.

To portray the movements of humans in the landscape, Giraudet de Boldemange made silicone castings of his own body. In the exhibition hall he shows a dozen of these ‘skins’ in different attitudes. Legs raised high, for example, symbolise a successful leap across the water during fierljeppen.

measuring chains

Eric Giraudet de Boudemange’s journey through Friesland was not his only source of inspiration; objects in the Museum of Friesland’s collection provided others, for example, the 15th-century measuring chains. Frisian farmers walked across their land and utilised chains such as these to calculate the surface area, which was expressed in a unit of measure that has long since been replaced. The landscape the artist created for the exhibition includes some measuring chains of his own design.

illusions of the frisian landscape

In cooperation with the nomadic art initiative Festival of Sports, Eric Giraudet de Boudemange has made a book about his journey through Friesland. The book tells the story of his acquaintance with brothers and fierljeppers Oane en Ysbrand Galama. During hikes through the landscape, they talk about Frisian nature, stories and traditions. The book Illusions of the Firsian landscape is sold in the museum store.

eric giraudet de boudemange

Eric Giraudet de Boudemange is an alumnus of Rijksakademie van Beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (2012/2013). Prior to that, he graduated from the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2007) and Le Fresnoy, studio national des arts contemporains (2011). His work has been presented in various group and solo exhibitions, including at De Appel in Amsterdam, Spazioborgogno in Milan, Galerie Waldburger/Wouters in Brussels, and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He travels around the world to satisfy his deep curiosity for rites and games. He uses his experiences as inspiration for his artworks. For his art he has learned an obscure darts game from French miners, and deer hunting and pigeon breeding. The stories he tells are about history, politics, folk culture, pop culture, landscapes and biology.