‘Goddess of wind and waves’
Justine Tyerman discovers a love of sculpture on a promenade around Lake Geneva . . .
Switzerland is well-and-truly landlocked, about 160km from the closest sea . . . but that doesn’t stop the ever-resourceful country declaring its own ‘riviera’. And a magnificent one at that.
The Lake Geneva waterfront from Villeneuve to Lutry is known as the Montreux Riviera. Surrounded by mountains and fringed with vineyards, the region has a chique Mediterranean flair, sophistication and climate that has attracted the rich, famous and titled for centuries.
Artists, writers, actors and musicians have also been drawn to this beautiful, tranquil place. Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey, Freddie Mercury immortalised Lake Geneva and the peaks of Le Grammont on the cover of the album ‘Made in Heaven’, Igor Stravinski composed ‘The Rite of Spring’ in Montreux, and Prince named a song after the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Jazz lovers flock to the famous Montreux Jazz Festival, history buffs to the fairytale Chillon Castle, wine aficionados to the vineyards of Lavaux and epicureans to the region’s many fine restaurants.
But it was the waterfront sculptures that enthralled me most, especially at sunset. The backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Swiss alps was ‘made in heaven’, as Freddie rightly said.
Apart from the impressive life-size statues of Freddie and Charlie, the whimsical ‘Venilia’ by Swiss sculptor Sara.H caught my eye. One of a series installed for the Biennale de Montreux exhibition/competition, ‘Venilia’ depicts a “goddess of the wind and the waves”.
The sculptor’s words on a plaque nearby rang true for me:
“Sculpture is music that should be listened to with the eyes and played with the fingertips.”
• Justine Tyerman travelled with Switzerland Tourism: www.MySwitzerland.com