“Le dormeur du rivage, poème épique” exhibition

From 14 to 21 July 2024

Nathalie Béreau Gallery + L’Écume Quantique
25 rue Hellouin
50580 Port-Bail-sur-Mer | FRANCE

Jean-Christophe Ballot, photography


Opening of the exhibition in the presence of the photographer on Saturday 13 July 2024 from 5pm to 10pm.

Presentation and book signing
Le dormeur du rivage, an epic poem
The Allied landings, June 1944 otherwise

Photographs Jean-Christophe Ballot
Text by Laurence Meiffret
Testimonies from “Paroles du Jour D” by Jean-Pierre Guéno


To mark the 20th anniversary of Galerie Nathalie Béreau, Adeline Guilhen, director of Galerie L’Écume Quantique, is offering a carte blanche to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day. For the duration of the event, the two galleries will be working together to present photographs by Jean-Christophe Ballot.

The story of the D-Day landings is told in 45 stations linked to the texts, each based on a photograph, diptych, triptych or polyptych of 4, 5 or 9 images, making a total of 81 photographs. The exhibition features an extract.



“I’m from the baby-boom generation, born 16 years after the events. How can I, in turn, tell the story of this decisive moment in history? How can the artist’s eye, in its own way, nourish our collective memory? How can I bring to life the courage and fear, the will, the camaraderie and the commitment of these men? How can we pass on all these emotions?

Léon Gautier, a marine in the Free French Forces, was the last French veteran to take part in D-Day. He died on 3 July 2023 and the President of the Republic paid him military honours. With the death of the last French actor and witness to this historic moment, a page has been turned and the question arises as to how to preserve the memory.
Jean-Christophe Ballot is undertaking a memorial work on this historic, heroic and tragic moment in the history of Normandy: the Allied landings of June 1944. Inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Le dormeur du val”, he has composed a poem based on photographs. With the help of Laurence Meiffret, they added titles to the images. He has taken the words of veterans, precious, intimate and sensitive testimonies of D-Day.

In this epic poem, the photographer invites us to relive history in a different way.


The storm, the foam and the dark skies are naturally metaphors for combat and chaos. The cliffs and the bunker represent the enemy, the obstacle or the goal to be reached. There is no linear illustration in the book; everything is open to interpretation.
Arthur Rimbaud used poetry to transcend the 1870 war in “Le dormeur du val”, combining the beauty of nature with a tragic situation. It was with this same alchemy, by shifting the action of the poem from the valley to the shore, that the author associated maritime landscapes with the apocalypse of the D-Day Landings.
A curtain opens. Soldiers’ testimonies burst through the gaps in the inside pages. Scraps of memories surface on water or paper. A wave, a sheet covers, another discovers voices from beyond the grave.

Under our helmets there is total silence. Chin straps tremble. The abyss beckons
The grim reaper mows down the first of us.
I see this fire rolling towards us.
Freer than you will ever be.

All photographs © Jean-Christophe Ballot.
All texts © Laurence Meiffret, Jean-Christophe Ballot.

Practical information

Visiting the exhibition

Le dormeur du rivage, epic poem
The Allied landings, June 1944 otherwise
Jean-Christophe Ballot and Laurence Meiffret
Odysée Editions
Dimensions: 16.4 x 24cm / 192 pages
French, English / Soft cover with flaps
Printed in Tarn / Released June 2024
ISBN : 978-2-494767-12-6 / €28

On sale at the gallery during the exhibition

Exhibition opening times

Every day except Sunday afternoon
10.30AM – 1PM / 3.30PM – 7PM


L’Écume Quantique Gallery
Adeline Guilhen
25 rue Hellouin
50580 Port-Bail-sur-Mer
+33 6 52 54 28 69
Nathalie Béreau Gallery phone number:  +33 6 79 71 26 44