Sculpting Creatures from the Sea

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

by Guest Blogger Emeric Jacob

The edges of the earth must be explored by bike… I jump on my bicycle fitted with a trailer and head towards the beach of Terre Neuve in Camargue in order to recharge my batteries, read, and unearth creatures hidden in the deposits from the sea.


Like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, unending beaches, dunes, meandering canals, and ponds come together in the first light of dawn to reveal the preserved and wild Camargue. With the sun’s first rays, the quietness of the night is disturbed by the mistral wind which whips sand on bare legs and face. Blown by the wind, the crop is ready to be harvested from the wide flat expanse. Plastic rubbish, half buried bottles, and polystyrene fragments entwined with marran grass both occupy and are hidden in that place. The landscape is striking, buried under great waves of sand where the water rushes during storms. Everything the sea has been carrying in its bowels for days seems to be stored there. An eclectic collection of objects weathered by wind and sun: reeds, roots, branches, boat pieces, fence poles, pens, corks, bottles, games, boxes, cans, green-orange-and-black ropes…

Sailing on this sea of sand, I fill bag after bag, weighing down the trailer. It’s time to find a place where I can allow the composition of the objects to emerge and retranscribe the omens they convey.

Terre Neuve Beach in Camargue [43°28'1.98"N; 4°11'17.83"E]-2016

Terre Neuve Beach in Camargue [43°28’1.98″N; 4°11’17.83″E]-2016

Whether in January 2015 on Aresquiers Beach, in April 2015 on the the banks of Méjean Pond, in October 2015 in Cevennes Canyon and in December 2015 among the rocks of the Riviera, the result is the same. Our delirious surplus of consumption is brought by water during floods and storms. These piles of objects coming from the floating world are links between the sea and the earth, a form of communication between these two great elements. Swallowed up, crushed, rolled over and digested by the sea, these objects are a testimony of human activity. Buried memories are recalled by a plastic bottle sandblasted by the wind, a plastic ball hardened by salt and time, the former wooden planks of a mariner, a plastic figurine or even a broken sole.  The past interlocks with these sand blasted old pieces of wood, buried in the sand but in spite of it all still present, reemerging from the depths of the sea in the form of monsters and strange creatures. From the waters, a new way of life emerges…

 “Grosse moustaches d’Obelix” special edition Aresquiers-2015.

“Grosse moustaches d’Obelix” special edition Aresquiers-2015.

These fragments are collected from different preserved and wild sites because of their volume, color, texture and aesthetic value. The fragments are then sorted out, washed and classified. Chance, opportunity, and choice determine the contents of this eclectic collection.

Stainless steel rods going straight through the different objects create complex spatial correlations. A new entity is born from the many connections between elements. An ecosystem forms. These organic and non-organic objects are organized in a unique and non-reproducible way for each sculpture, and are different at every site.

Installation of the creatures.

Installation of the creatures.

The tripod creatures are set up on the site where they have been harvested in the silence of dawn. Waiting beside the sculptures in the  fresh air of the early morning is a surreal experience. The first rays of sun reveal the creatures’ strange shapes. Waves break on the beach and caress their feet. A full family of creatures, all of different sizes, emerges from the quiet morning waters. The scene is immortalized in a picture as a testimony.

Aresquiers Beach [43°29'52.41"N/ 3°52'8.52"E]- 2015.

Aresquiers Beach [43°29’52.41″N/ 3°52’8.52″E]- 2015.

A little like a report, linking sculpture and photography, the creatures show what seashore they come from. Exhibited in multimedia libraries, festivals, universities or museums, they encounter large audiences, bearing witness to and questioning our society as well as the impact of our production on the environment and the climate. In light of Prometheus or Victor Frankenstein, have we gone beyond our responsibilities, our knowledge? Are we conscious of the consequences of our creations?
Detail of “le tamiseur parfumé” special edition Aresquiers-2015.

Detail of “le tamiseur parfumé” special edition Aresquiers-2015.


Passionate about sculpture, nature and travel since my childhood, I have been carving and sculpting whatever I come across. From troglodyte rocks to various materials brought by the sea, I have been inspired by it all. Then at one point, I became eager to understand and make my own “systems” and chose to study at an engineering and research graduate school. I was an engineer for twelve years, funneling my urge to create into the construction sector. Because I have always been a builder with a passion for technique and nature, I naturally gravitated towards working on renewable energy building sites. However, I now choose to express this commitment through artistic creation. Eager to share my concerns about environmental change and travel all over the world, I make my creations come to life thanks to artistic exhibitions and collaboration.

You can find me at and


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Filed under: Guest Blog Series, Sculpture


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

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