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<< Solitary…….. of Tides >>

It has been the intention of Jean-Francois Aillet to invite 7000 people from every corner of the world to collect as many samples of sand from as many beaches. A major portion of the sand collected will be merged into a large Solitary to be situated atop his project: “Le Solitaire …..des marées” ("Solitary….of Tides”). This unique monument will be erected in a public place somewhere in the world in the future.

The artist Jean-Francois Aillet invites you to collect your sample from a moraine, from next to a waterfall or beside a river. along the shore of a lake or a stream, in a desert or on the border of an ocean. One should not, however, send him sand from a construction site. You are asked to document your collection of the material with a photo, taken as you are pouring the sand into a container. For an example, kindly visit his home page at . To date Aillet has received 800 samples. One may view these in a stable near “Pegasus Bridge” next to his residence. You, your friends and acquaintances are invited to see his project through to completion. Your name will be mentioned in connection with your sample. So please go out at once and gather sand, or bring it back from a beach where you vacation. Send it along to the following address:

Jean-Francois Aillet

10 Allée des Tilleuls

F-14860 Amfréville / Normandie




Phone : 0033(0)643 128 229

e-mail :




Translated into English by Rüdiger Axel Westphal Amfréville, 24.07.2010.



Encounter with Jean-François Aillet, the tides sculptor

Islands are closed spaces of social life by nature but are paradoxically places that are propitious for all sorts of encounters with travellers and people with unique life paths. Jean-François Aillet, a traveller at heart and sculptor designer with a very fertile imagination, has made a six-month halt in Molene to carry out one of his projects.

Safeguarding the memory of our coastline and beaches

His objective is to collect 7,000 types of sand from around the world. The figure 7,000 has been chosen to represent 100 beaches bordering the 70 seas registered by the IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) around the planet. This native of Normandy has undertaken a pilgrimage along the coastline to explain his initiative, hence covering over 3,200km between bay of Mont Saint Michel and the northern coast of Spain. Molene was a halt on his lengthy journey. As part of his routine during each halt, he met with the mayor, the teacher and schoolchildren and, just before taking to the seas again, he had the chance of hitting it off with Molène. A friendship was born from the meeting between these two singular characters and this has encouraged Jean-François to temporarily take up residence in this remote corner of the world to write a book about his journey to Saint Jacques de Compostelle and his multiple encounters.

“Le solitaire… des marées” (The solitary of tides), a glass and water sculpture

The artist intends to create “Le solitaire… des marées” (the solitary of tides), a 15-metre high glass and water sculpture resting on a 2,500 m² plane surface made of the 7,000 types of sand collected around the world.

This sort of totem pole is covered with glass plates arranged in a way that makes the light reflect on the work at any time of the day, a coloured liquid moves up and down with the tides. For this project, the visionary architect has designed a calculator and a pum to recreate life-size tides every day  while the tip of the pole would record the mark of the highest tide of the current lunar cycle.

The project is ambitious and he invites the public to choose a beach and to collect half a litre of sand, without forgetting to take a photo of them collecting it. “Tell me who you are, tell me the history of the place where you have collected the sand and send all of this to me by post,” says the artist. Since 2005, more than 500kg of sand have been sent to him from around the planet. From Easter Island to Finland, through Australia, Bolivia and Peru. And even from the Utah desert, where five astronauts and scientists from the European Space Agency who were undergoing training for the project to establish an inhabited station on Mars took the time to send him some sand. The essence of the project itself is to encourage participation from around the world. “My objective is to create a place regrouping sand from seas all around the world. At a time when ocean water levels are rising, some sands will be disappearing. My intention is to create a library of raw materials so as to create a universal heritage for future generations.”

A heritage library of the sands of our planet

The various types of sand collected will be stored in a shed located next to one of the most ancient churches in Normandy, the Saint Ouen Church. The place is open to the general public, who will be able to watch the collection as it grows and admire the immense hundred-metre fresco made of the photos of the sand collectors from the world over!

To contribute your grain of sand to this ambitious project, kindly send the sand collected and a photo of you collecting it to Jean-François Aillet, 10 Allée des Tilleuls, 14860 Amfréville.



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Traductions Allemagne Royaume-Uni Russie Espagne Pays-Bas Portugal

Vidéo   ► Présentation du lieu de stockage des sables

Vidéo   ► Présentation en italien par Santino Manzini

Vidéo   ► Présentation en portugais par Manuel Vaz Portugal