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The view from Nice
An encounter with Sacha Sosno

Sacha Sosno has made Nice his open air studio, an ever-changing canvas which he lovingly portrays frame by frame through artist’s eyes. Sacha Sosno strolls through the emblematic features of Nice. When 7 details form a whole, Nice is an enchanting delight.

Sosno - Nice

 
 
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At the top of Cimiez hill stands the Régina, designed by the architect Marcel Biasini, built at the end of the 19th century to accommodate prestigious guests such as Queen Victoria. The imposing building occupies the centre of the canvas. Alongside it is the Russian Church, the Sacré-Cœur of the history of Nice holidays, blanched by the whiteness of the sun with all the lightness of a lace festoon. When it became a dwelling, at the start of the 1930s, Henri Matisse took refuge there only for his fame to grow. Lean slightly over the south-facing balconies of the Régina and you will make out the Arènes de Cimiez Roman remains in the foreground... whose dimensions and age bear timeless witness to the grandeur of Nice from its origins. It was a city of medicine, trade and passage as well as a great seaside town even then! 

Simply shift the frame to a far-off perspective and you can make out the Bellet hills with its sun-warmed vines whose "appellation d'origine contrôlée" wine makes Nice the only Mediterranean city to produce an AOC wine within its walls. 

Let your eye travel further still, flying over a green corridor which ends at the "Tête Carrée" (Square head). Sacha Sosno’s creative work is self sufficient, soaring and martial, cultural, a protest. It acts as the focal point of the regional library, a place of sharing and encounters where students and the elderly rub shoulders with the union activists who have adopted it as a spontaneous rallying point. Sosno smiles: "I am happy because it is both aesthetically pleasing and useful". 

The roofs, neighbours, of the old town are a picture in themselves. In the old centre, people live, shop, love, create. Visitors that walk there are imbued by the soul of Nice unawares. "One can spend one’s life inside the old town, without ever leaving it, without feeling enclosed…" confides Sacha Sosno who invented his art over a twenty-year period at the rue du Château. 

The Château! Nice’s landmark to obliteration. This makes it dear to Sacha Sosno, who has made the technique one of his trademarks. The weight of its absence at the top of the hill is a waypoint for residents of Nice as sure as the pomp and ceremony of a traditional monument. You can see everything from up there and feel as though you are penetrated by the breath of the "people" that built Nice. Sosno muses on the question: "Nice is a statistical anomaly in the world of art. There are so many artists here, painters, sculptors, writers…. Why?" If Nice was an alloy, it would be a magnet.
 
The frame moves away from the hill of the Château. It alights on the port, the most beautiful port in the French Mediterranean, even lovelier car free, with its small units. 

From the other side, past Rauba Capeu and the Monument aux Morts (Monument to the dead) the frame drops down to Castel beach with its polished white-grey pebbles, dampened by the water of the bay, refreshed by a fresh water spring known since ancient times. Spring? "Nys" in lower Liguria. Sacha Sosno sees the "Nys" as the origin of Nice, the city of fresh water under the sea, with a wealth of exquisite charms besides.

 
François Grosso
 

 

 
   
 


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