Léon Garreaud de Mainvilliers

Work on paper

Biography and career

Léon Garreaud de Mainvilliers

The memory of earth


There is a moment of absolute truth between Art and Architecture, an epiphany when man tries to control the unfathomable immensity with poetry and tries to settle in a place in accordance with  ancestral rituals. In a more or less intuitive manner, man defines his territory and establishes permeable limits, which define his relation to “others”.  This first clear and precise architectural move, this delineation which is engraved in the earth, this rare and radical “founding moment” , has fuelled my research.


My experience as a Franco-Chilean architect who was born in  the Atacama desert, my passion for archaeology and the choice of  engraving have been influenced by the desire to reconstruct a story packed under stratum, by the need to  dust corroded remains and  make ruins and drained territories speak  in order to understand the urban and social evolution of places through “built residue” Engraving, like architecture belongs to time.


I offer a memorial and archaeological approach of the ground between aerial view and excavations of the land. My works consist of deep spatial reflexions, real stratum’ “constructions” where the tense relationship between masses is defined by the depth of  “emptiness”. The control of this unstable balance between bodies and interstices, makes it possible to reveal this moment of truth when the elements start coexisting in a constantly mutating  major “space.”