Leena Kangaskoski is a Helsinki based visual artist. She worked at Hôtel Chevillon in 2019.
I arrived in Grez-sur-Loing, a small village 70 kilometres south of Paris, on an early June afternoon and found my way to Hôtel Chevillon amidst the blue stone walls, red tile roofs and lavender bushes. The village was just as villages are in French movies.
I was happy to be able to stay in Hotel Chevillon for four months. As most of the other artists, writers and researchers stayed only for a month, I had the chance to meet many artists during my stay. We explored the nearby surroundings on our bikes and these trips became great adventures. The state of mind I found myself in was not easily acquired in my normal day-to-day-getting-things-done routine. I fully appreciated the opportunity the residency gave me to momentarily be able to enter that mental state. I was really taken in by the landscape around Hotel Chevillon, its rocks in particular. They have a bodily quality that leaped straight into my work.
Living and working spaces in Hôtel Chevillon were good and everything functioned well. The biggest obstacle for work was the heat that on some days climbed up to +45°C, which is far too hot to do almost anything. Luckily, the residence leads down to the river Loing and during the hottest days it was a relief. After the sun set, the temperature became bearable and we often hosted open air cinemas in the inner courtyard. After one of those nights, I discovered a geometric constellation of mosquito bites behind my right knee and that was just wonderful.