Jeremy Deller, The lovers, 2021, polyuréthane, fibre de verre, acier, polyester, peinture, balançoire. H 300cm.

In 2021, Kortrijk’s second contemporary art triennial invites artists to interpret the concept of paradise.

In the heart of Messeyne Park, a romantic garden designed in the 19th century, Jeremy Deller revisits one of the most famous scenes from the Bible, which has become an archetype in the collective Western imagination. His work is based in particular on a painting of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach (1526), currently on display at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

The imposing three-meter-high pair of white figures is the structure of a swing set available to the public. The artist offers a contemporary, funny, and functional version of this creation myth. He hijacks both the content of religious iconography and the solemnity usually associated with monuments in the public space.

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Geert Goiris, Centrochelys Sulcata, 2017, wallpaper.

As part of a collaboration between Rubis Mécénat and the Frac Normandie Rouen, Geert Goiris travelled through twelve port areas belonging to the Rubis Terminal company in 2017. Peak oil, a photographic work on the theme of the contemporary industrial landscape, resulted from this experience. The corpus of images materializes in different forms: an exhibition at the Frac, an edition and two installations, one of which, Centrochelys Sulcata, shows a giant sulcata turtle on the tanks of the Rouen site of Rubis Terminal since 2018.

“The sulcata turtle represented is an emblem of longevity and stability, and can be considered a true living fossil whose origin goes back to prehistoric times. According to the artist, it thus echoes the hydrocarbons on which society is dependent. By transferring this sulcata turtle to the gigantic reservoirs of Rubis Terminal Rouen, Geert Goiris establishes an analogy between the animal and the oil activity linked to this industrial territory. *

*Geert Goiris, Centrochelys Sulcata, depuis 2018,

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Jeremy Deller, Ask The Animals and they will Teach You, mixed media, 2021

Ask The Animals and They Will Teach You was installed in Knokke-Heist, on the Belgian coast, on the occasion of the Beaufort 21 contemporary art triennial.

This work, which is both a sculpture and a children play, invites children to slide on the tongue of a large chameleon. Placed in the centre of the Van Bunnenplein square, the animal stands on an engraved base on which a description of the species can be read. True to his sense of misappropriation, Jeremy Deller uses the codes of the monument to make it a playful object. Instead of paying tribute to a historical figure, he highlights one of the oldest creatures on the planet, threatened by global warming.

” “There’s something magical about chameleons,” says Deller, “they can do things we can only dream of and are the most beautiful creatures on the planet. We have to worship them.” “

– Jeremy Deller,

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Vidya Gastaldon, Escalator (Rainbow Rain), 2007, wool, threads, lime tree sticks, 700 x 100 cm

Escalator (Rainbow rain) is a multitude of suspended strings that give the illusion of a rain of coloured petals, under and around which the public can move. These fine suspensions are made of wool, thread and wood. Through their accumulation, Vidya Gastaldon renders, with very ordinary materials, the brilliance of precious materials and the impression of lightness and intangibility of a rainbow. In this way, the artist reveals the symbolic potential of these everyday objects, which she likens to “an art of tranquillity, of Sundays and holidays”.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, this work has been shown on numerous occasions. But it was undoubtedly during its first exhibition at Palazzo Grassi that the effect produced, in relation to the palace’s sumptuous architecture, was the most striking. multiples reprises. Mais c’est sans doute lors de sa première exposition au sein du Palazzo Grassi que l’effet produit, en relation avec la fastueuse architecture du palais, a été le plus saisissant. L’illusion des lumières, curated by Caroline Bourgeois, “without limiting itself to the physical and aesthetic dimensions of light, […] addressed its symbolic, philosophical and even political extent through the works of twenty or so contemporary artists”.

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