A haven lies behind these walls.
Landing at this port of call, you leave run-of-the-mill squalls and storms behind you. Even simple words desert you as time expands and you enter a world where only the gift of sight counts – your eyes drawn first of all by the space between the long brown façade and rectangle of close-cropped lawn planted with sculptures. Only then, stripped, washed clean of everyday concerns, can you cross the threshold and wander from room to room where the works on display resonate within you, or not, and time is abolished. Silence imbues the polished brick as the lighting directs your gaze; artworks dialogue with one another, you come to a halt, take off in a new direction and change course again, your hand itching to sketch an approach as your eyes caress a surface, try to understand the matter of its composition, and are lost in dreams conjured up by no more than a fragment. And then words finally come back to you, as your return journey takes a new route.

But describing the place in such fashion would only express a part of its attraction; it would leave out the duo that first created it and, having become a quartet some years back, continue to breathe life into it. With their complementary personalities, ever discreet yet attentive to each visitor, the four accomplices provide the warmest of welcomes, along with in-depth knowledge of the artists on show and the techniques they employ, paying meticulous attention to every detail and inviting music and gastronomy to play their part in inaugurations. Gérard and Sophie Capazza’s newly created utopia was something of an Abbey of Thelema, but it is now their own utopia, held in trust for all of us, whether loyal visitors or just passing through. Loyal? No doctrine other than the sharing of artistic emotions rules here, where Denis and Laura Durand-Capazza are now contributing with such enthusiasm, carrying on with the adventure with as much burning passion as their elders.

From time to time, something of the enchantment omnipresent within these walls makes itself felt in this or that household, thanks to the adoption of a work that has drawn somebody’s special attention, a work taking on fresh meaning from its new context. Would it have drawn such attention in the first place and completed the journey started in its creator’s studio if it had never been on display in Nançay?

And, leaving the gallery, before the clocks start ticking out time once more, who among us does not feel refreshed and revitalised by having been so close to the works it harbours, and by the healing impression this out-of-the-ordinary place leaves of having sprung from another dimension altogether?

Elisabeth Dousset
Extract of the book "Ensemble depuis 40 ans", Galerie Capazza Editions, 2015

Capazza Gallery 1979

Gérard Capazza is by no means one of the lesser-known of those ocean-going captains. For forty years now, he has led his crew far beyond known, already well-documented worlds, never ceasing to explore uncharted waters. Although he may not have been awarded all the honours he deserves, he has written History, redrawing the maps of sensibility, pushing back frontiers and setting new horizons.
Without always being aware of it, those who set sail on his vessel of art and peace, aboard that remarkable Ark with so many treasures in its hold, were participating in an undertaking aimed at preservation of the world, as well as a voyage into the imagination of these times. No murderous reef, contrary wind or sudden storm could ever succeed in making it deviate a single inch from the course such unsinkable determination had set.
Following in its wake, I entertain the possibility of inventing new worlds in my turn…

Ludovic Duhamel
Editor-in-Chief, Miroir de l’Art
Extract of the book "Ensemble depuis 40 ans", Galerie Capazza Editions, 2015

Few galleries can boast a layout so well suited to making the best of works exhibited as Galerie Capazza’s. Each visit is an initiatory journey. You arrive at Grenier de Villâtre across a little bridge over the Coulonet. Once through the gates, you are greeted by a pair of imposing female statues by Franta and Fanny Ferré. Further on, Jacky Colville’s whimsical bestiary frolics on the lawn stretching between the sober rose-redbrick buildings. An aptly named “Grenier”, as it was designed for storing grain, the seed sowed in the fertile soil of visitors’ imaginations. A medieval lodging-house for the lord of La Châtre’s equerries? One of the château’s farms in the 19th century? The buildings show traces of a dual origin, noble and peasant alike. Every room is pared down to its bare essentials, enabling each work to exist in its own world, resonating with its neighbours or echoing from one room to the next, without appreciation ever being undermined by staging.(...)

On some evenings, the Grenier is the scene of “fêtes étranges”1 – strange parties where, as in Augustin Meaulnes’ odyssey , multicoloured reflections float in the high windows, music plays somewhere, shadows slither across the lawn and the back-and-forth of conversation filters down from the brilliantly lit windows of the upper room. Art lovers treasure these preview soirees, where you meet the artists concerned in a companionable atmosphere that encourages discussion. You can hear Goudji tell of his incredible journey from his native Georgia, Antoine Leperlier expound his philosophy of time and dream on the possibilities of glass, Christine Fabre explain how she gets bronze to do her bidding, Bernard Dejonghe tell of his fascination for Neolithic tools and the earth’s crust, or Felipe Gayo enthuse over mathematics and the genesis of geometrical shapes… (...)

The magic of such soirees has much to do with the radiant presence of the works on exhibition, vibrating through the air. A presence maximised by the art employed in “highlighting” them. For the gallery is above all a space where light is organised with a masterly hand. Much of the visitors’ path through its rooms is in semi-darkness, all the better to wonder at the brilliantly lit pieces afloat on their fragile shelving. The lighting guides the eye, aiding interpretation and encouraging exploration. (...)

Capazza Gallery indoor

Continuity between the arts: silversmiths, painters, draughtsmen, photographers, ceramists, sculptors and glass artists all have their place in the gallery. Beyond their diversity, the careful observer detects correspondences, or rather echoes between one work and another, structures and forms common to more than one artist. Michel Madore’s painting “Les dormeurs et un ange au-dessus d’eux” calls Jeanclos’ sculpted sleepers to mind. Resonances between ceramics and photography are magnified by Andoche Praudel’s “Les champs de bataille” – photographs of former battlefields now lying peaceful and fragile are exhibited alongside “Trophées”, tortured pieces, shattered and charred, as if left behind in the hell of armed combat. Echoes and links help create a dreamlike world, further extended by works in which Denis Durand’s photographs do justice to the artists’ creativity. Although we have an inborn penchant for clay and glass, we’ve nonetheless learned to appreciate other art forms. Take Philibert-Charrin, for instance – Gérard Capazza put all his considerable talent to work to get us to perceive the full subtlety of his constructions and his quirky humour.

As “amateurs”, we have come to understand that aesthetic value does not lie in the work itself, nor in the eye that views it, but rather in the relationship binding the work to whoever contemplates it, mentally drawing it into their own inner world. A collection reveals much about the collector. Choosing a work is an intensely emotional experience – caught between exaltation at its discovery and the triviality of estimating what’s possible, between desire and the reality principle – during which an exchange of confidences with Gérard Capazza has an important role to play. On the subject of our favourite artists, those of whom we expect the most, the pleasure they afford comes from sharing a vision of their work, comparing it with their previous creations and observing new manners of expression… For others’ work, it’s the gallerist’s eye that matters, along with the presentation resulting from it – a presentation incorporating it into a setting that brings out its special qualities. As after a concert, leaving with the music still vibrating in your ears, images still float before your eyes as you make your way home. You have to get back to everyday life, bringing a nugget along with you if possible – a concentrate of emotion, the memory of an encounter.

Françoise Clerc
Villers, November 2014
Extract of the book "Ensemble depuis 40 ans", Galerie Capazza Editions, 2015

1 Fournier, Alain, (2013, reprint of the 1913 edition), Le Grand Meaulnes, Chapter 13: ‘La Fête Etrange’, Paris, Aux Forges de Vulcain. The gallery contains a small room dedicated to Alain Fournier, a native of the region, who probably drew inspiration from the Grenier de Villâtre’s buildings as a setting for the party during which Augustin Meaulnes meets Yvonne de Galais.

Capazza Gallery outdoor

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