The Petriverse of Pierre Jardin


Petriverse.  Noun.

1) A self-contained sphere or world being converted into stone, or composed largely of rocks, such as a rock garden.

2) Words composed of rocks, comprising a poem or aphoristic statement; the genre of verse written in stone.

[Latin petra, rock; Old English vers, from Latin versus a furrow, literally: a turning (of the plough), from vertere to turn]

Welcome to the Petriverse of Pierre Jardin, a rock garden featuring poems, sculptures, and designs composed of stones.  Producing the petriverse is a meditative practice through which Jardin grows closer to the earth and enters into intimate contemplative contact with rocks by arranging and balancing them. For Pierre, rocks are both geological and aesthetic–once properly and painstakingly placed in the petriverse, stones become bearers of meaning in an ever-evolving micrcosmos.   The rocks are collected locally and occasionally globally by Jardin; in integrating them into his garden, Pierre prompts the petriverse to provide a palimpsest of place–the small space houses traces of a life.


As a world of rocks, the Petriverse seeks to rock your world through its StoneDesign.  StoneDesign is Jardin’s word for evocative arrangements of rocks, or sculptures, towers, or small installations.  Blue-hued cylindrical rocks standing upright might mimic karst mountains in miniature.  Rock towers with concentric circle patterns juxtapose the instability and ephemerality of balanced stones with the deep time of geology embodied by water-washed rings, a petriverse equivalent of tree rings and dendrochronology. (click photo to enlarge)

As words of rocks, Petriverse is a genre of poetry.  Petriverse tends to the terse; it might pun in fun; it seeks to pique.  Petriverse’s primary peruser-group is pedestrians, so Pierre’s rock-words must attract the eye and be easily read.  This poetry often engages the spectator by speaking directly to them qua spectator, as in the top photo above: “U R C ing.”  The ultimate success occurs when words point to a meaning that clicks in the viewer after a delay, and produces in them a start or a spark, an insight or delight, a realization or inspiration.  The unfamiliar term “Petriverse” might spur speculative spectators to infer that “the birth of a Petriverse” could refer to the genesis of a micro-cosmic rock world.  Presuming anyone cares to let the words linger a bit, they might realize that the near rhyme birth/petriverse in words made of stones hints that in the act of seeing/reading, the viewer witnesses a rock poem coming to life.

Jardin crafts rocks and words in similar ways, trying to maneuver them so that they seem to fall into place in a fitting fashion.   The phrase “ROCK GROUPS”  in the second photo above is part of the petriverse ROCK GROUPS LIVE IN SILENT CONCERT.  The meandering line of words might denote ‘carefully constructed configurations of stones tend to co-exist in a quiet kind of peace.’  Or, for a music fan, the words “LIVE IN CONCERT” might evoke an image of the ‘Stones’ on view being rock’n’roll groups engaged in a soundless zen performance.  Such properly enlightened pedestrians would please Pierre by signifying applause with one-handed clapping….


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