Art does many things to us. It makes us question. It shows us beauty. It allows us to dream. French artist Olivier Grossetete is known for his monumental installations that make the heart soar, and he’s doing it again at Tatton Park’s third biennial.
This year’s theme was flight and saw many different aviation inspired pieces dotting the estate. Grossetete took a slightly less direct interpretation for his piece entitled Pont de Singe, or Monkey Bridge en anglais. As suggested by the name, Pont de Singe is a narrow bridge that reaches up high. But what makes it so special is that this footbridge is suspended in the air solely by three massive helium balloons. The bridge sits in a pond in Tatton Park’s Japanese garden, with the ends trailing under the water. Each balloon can hold an extra 120 pounds, so the science of it works. But the reason it wasn’t tethered to the banks is a pragmatic one, the insurance company couldn’t let them allow access to the public for safety reasons. But the bridge seems all the more poetic because of this. As it gently sways in the breeze, we ask ourselves questions. Who is it for? Where are they going? How can it get there?
The beauty of Pont de Singe is its quiet grace and the promise of wonder, just out of reach. Like the rainbow and its mythical pot of gold, it gives us the hope of awe.