Group show curated by Marco Scotini
May 5th – October 21th 2018

Michel Blazy, Forêt de balais, 2018. Installation.

With works by Lara Almarcegui, Michel Blazy, the Critical Art Ensemble, Piero Gilardi, Bonnie Ora Sherk and Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, the goal of both the exhibition and the conference is to address (and, furthermore, see as an issue) one of
the debates which, over the past few years, has been to the forefront of the international, contemporary art scene: the questions relating to the Anthropocene. […]

All these works have the role of reminding us that there is nothing natural, nothing objective, nothing inevitable about the processes of capitalist accumulation, thereby encouraging us to go beyond the
confines of thoughts that prevent us from seeing any alternative to the system.

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Michel Blazy, Bouquet Final, 2012, Collège des Bernardins. échafaudage, jardinières, liquide moussant / planters, foaming liquid.
Michel Blazy, Bouquet final. Nuit blanche 2012, Mairie du 4e arrondissement, Paris/FR. échafaudage, jardinières, liquide moussant / scaffolding, planters, foaming liquid.

On an industrial scaffolding structure, thick white foam swells and slowly escapes from plastic planters. The tubs are regularly supplied with foaming liquid. Michel Blazy chose a low-cost product that gives off a familiar scent of lavender in the exhibition space. Driven by invisible air pumps, the foam pours until it becomes too heavy and breaks up. Once on the ground, the foam gradually becomes liquid again. The work must be reactivated every morning.

Bouquet final was presented in 2012 at the Collège des Bernardins (Paris), a former 13th-century Cistercian teaching establishment listed as a historical monument. In the same year, visitors to the Parisian Nuit Blanche – with a program along the Seine – were able to discover this colossal installation in one of the reception rooms of the Mairie du 4ème arrondissement. Allegorizing the excesses of our consumer society, the cascades of foam also echo the opulence of these two venues. Bouquet final makes no secret of its ephemeral, prosaic nature, reminding us that all things are doomed to entropy.

Inaugurated in 2008, the Parco Arte Vivente was conceived by the artist PieroGilardi, co-founder of the Arte povera movement, as a place of “dialogue between art and nature and nature, biotechnology and ecology as well as between the public and artists.” * Located in the Lingotto district, among express ways, factories and offices, this experimental art centre consists in an open-air exhibition space and an interactive museum.

Michel Blazy installs in 2009 a collaborative and ephemeral artwork in the PAV’s garden. In the middle of the summer, Noël en août / Dégustation rouge salvages the remains of Christmas Trees and uses them as stakes for tomato plants. The dying trees are arranged in an orderly and regular way, in the same manner young plants would be in agroforestry. In this way, the trees, symbols of consumerism and of disposable culture, are replaced in a cyclical process.

The artist invites volunteers to participate to this surprising garden’s creation and maintenance. When they are ready, the fruits, whose shape and color remind of Christmas decorations, are used as an opportunity to have a common savouring moment. 


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Vues de l’installation / Installation views Ulla von Bradenburg, Death of a King, 2012, Agora, Palais de Tokyo, Paris/FR. Courtesy the Artist et Art : Concept, Paris. Photo André Morin

In 2012, the Palais de Tokyo reopened its doors after ten months of renovation. Its new configuration makes the Agora a “central space” dedicated to being the “crossroads between exhibitions and visitors”. With Death of a king, Ulla von Brandenburg inaugurates this space, ideally placed under a glass roof, and reveals its new function.

Visitors are invited to enter this monumental, colorful installation, which unfurls on a two-tiered platform, embracing the architectural features of the site. The playful pattern on the floor and walls evokes a harlequin costume, while the U-shaped ramp is reminiscent of a skatepark ramp. A reference to popular theater in the tradition of the Comedia dell Arte, Death of a King also echoes the improvised ramps used by skateboarders practicing on the steps in front of the Palais de Tokyo. The installation is a reminder that the skatepark is also a stage on which to perform under scrutiny. The Agora, transformed by Ulla von Brandenburg, becomes an intermediary space between fiction and reality, theater and life.

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Photo © Tom Cornille
Photo © Sigrid Spinnox
Entretien avec Ulla von Brandenburg. Extrait de Introfilm Experience Traps, 2018

“Because theatre is obviously a way of travelling with the mind, it is worth remembering that it was the sailors who, with their knowledge of machines, worked in theatres when they were on land. I would like to build a stage made of sails, halfway between a theatre and a boat, moored on a lawn far from the sea, where the backdrop would resemble the sails of a boat.”

—Ulla von Brandenburg

Responding to an invitation from the Middelheim Museum, Ulla von Brandenburg has designed a wooden theatre for the exhibition Experience trap (2018), freely inspired by the innovative ideas of the Baroque landscape.

Here, the traditional curtain is declined into seven pairs of drapes whose shades of blue underline the depth of the stage space. The latter hosts a performance referring to the book The States and Empires of Europe by Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) and interpreted by the actor Benoît Résillot. After the performance, visitors were able to go behind the scenes and activate the “sea machine”. Like the baroque garden, the theatre uses devices such as perspective and trompe-l’oeil to create illusions. Here, an ingenious theatrical device has been integrated into the stage structure to allow “the sea” to move. The use of simple materials, wooden boards and textiles, makes Ulla von Brandenburg’s work timeless, far from any historical copy or contemporary theatre technology.

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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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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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Hubert Duprat, Sans titre, 2013, plaster, clay pots, 232 x 1800 x 15cm

In 2013, 30 years after the creation of the “Fonds Régionaux d’Art Contemporain”, the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon asked the Henri Prades Museum to participate in a programme designed to highlight the regional collections. Adjacent to the archaeological site of Lattara, the museum aims to show the daily life of the city in ancient times

The museum then organised a contemporary art exhibition devoted to Hubert Duprat and asked him to imagine a work in dialogue with the archaeological collections. Hubert Duprat proposed an installation made up of a thousand industrial clay pots set into a 20-metre long plaster wall that divided the space dedicated to the permanent collections. The regular and almost hypnotic pattern thus produced provides a contemporary and poetic counterpoint to the ancient objects, particularly the amphorae that faces it.

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Hubert Duprat, 2009-2012. La Verrière, Bruxelles. Polystyrène, bois et galuchat.

Inaugurated in Brussels in 2000, La Verrière is part of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès international network of galleries. Invited to take over the space, Hubert Duprat installed an imposing polystyrene architecture adorned with rectangles of shagreen, a high-end leather used in leather goods. This white fortress, which occupies the space to the point of almost obstructing it, is astonishing in its scale as in the choice and use of materials. Polystyrene and shagreen have a similar grainy texture, but create a striking contrast in terms of density, appearance and symbolic value.

“This white structure takes us back to geometric modernism and the autonomous methods of early 20th-century art. But there’s a disturbing element, suggested by the title, which derives from the English word “shagreen”: ray or shark skin, whose rectangles seem to serve as staples to hold the white object together, and require traditional know-how and expertise, so that the work evokes the time lapse between the era of the handmade, the artisanal, and modern industry, or rather melts one into the other. “*

*Martin Herbert, « Une vision holiste », in TextWork, Fondation Ricard, July 2019

Richard Fauguet, Sans titre, 2011. Éléments de fumisterie, lampes et câblage électrique / chimney engineering/ aluminium pipes and lamp. 1 300 × 400 × 350 cm. Courtesy the Artist and Art : Concept, Paris. Collection Mac/Val, Vitry-sur-Seine/FR. Photo André Morin.

Chimney pipes form a thirteen-meter-long carriage pulled by four riders. The interior is a disproportionately enlarged chair where visitors are invited to sit. Defying the industrial use of material, the artist magnifies steel tubes, a smoky element, to create a monumental sculpture. He plays on the double meaning of the word, “fumiste” referring to both a heating engineer and an unserious person. Since the 1990s, Richard Fauguet has been observing chimneys and the varied shapes of heating pipes and systems. He finds the figure of Darth Vader in chimney vacuum cleaners. A recurring motif for the artist, here he takes on the appearance of a modern-day knight. The artist’s work borrows materials from everyday life: formica, Vallauris glass, Pyrex, steel tubes. He assembles a variety of elements, both flashy and obsolete, to create a kitschy discrepancy between form and substance, on the edge of art history and popular culture. This three-dimensional construction game echoes the assembly practices of the Nouveaux Réalistes.

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About Richard Fauguet