In France this summer, arts programming offers a plentiful encounter with artists, designers, and photographers alerted to the issues of global warming and our relationship to the living world, including a proliferation of scientific collaborations, and on-site experiences. A truly multi-disciplinary approach can be seen to be developing in exhibition production, with a greater consideration of the environment placed at the heart of historic events such as the Rencontres d’Arles.
Many exhibitions, festivals, and triennials taking place in France this summer aim to foster a greater sensitivity to our co-existence with the vegetal world and invite us to ask profound questions about our impact on the planet.


Exhibitions’ map © BenjaminDeBiasi



New terms have made their way into the field of art to describe our relationships with the rest of the living world. Férale, the title of Charlotte Cosson’s latest book, is also the name of a new group exhibition at FRAC Alsace, curated by François Génot. Her selection of artists, including Suzanne Husky, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, and Lois Weinberger, are all using their work to explore ways of being in contact with living ecosystems found in fragile environments.
The history of plant use is also the starting point for Nicolas Pirus‘s residency. His exhibition at Le Creux de l’enfer, open since June 26th, presents the results of his research. For her residency at Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Paula Valero turns her attention to Rosa Luxembourg’s herbarium. Since July 2nd, Ivana Adaime Makac has been creating a new landscape at Ravitaillement, a place for art and rural practices in Gavray-sur-Sienne, Manche, composed of plants that appear to be under a spell. Charlotte Gautier Van Tour continues her research on ecosystems for her residency at the Maison Forte de Hautetour, Saint-Gervais. Opening on July 14th, the exhibition “Bloom” presents the fruit of her experiments, encouraging us to discover the aquatic history of the Alps. Other group exhibitions offer us a moment of contemplation and reflection: Paysage. Fenêtre sur la nature at Louvre Lens, on view until July 24th; Enchanter la terre at Château du Rivau, on view until November 12nd; and “À la rencontre du vivant” at the Goodplanet Foundation, featuring Fabrice Hyber and Vincent Laval1, on view until December 17th. Finally, at the Domaine de Certes, the group exhibition “Chemins de cimes”, proposed by the Forest Art Project association, features 16 artists that encourage visitors to wonder at and whet their curiosity about the mysteries of nature and forests.

Herbier Résistant Rosa Luxemburg, A project by Paula Valero, In collaboration with Pascale Obolo, Led by la Semeuse © Laboratoire d’Aubervilliers


The “Triennale Art & Industrie” in Dunkirk, an original collective and territorial initiative, continues its reflection on the energy and ecological challenges facing Hauts-de-France, a region whose history is intrinsically linked to industrial development. Entitled “Chaleur Humaine” (Human Warmth), this second edition features a wide-ranging program of over 250 works distributed between the FRAC Grand Large, the LAAC, and the public space, alternating historic works (Agnes Denes, Joseph Beuys, Gina Pane, etc.) with recent creations (Michel Blazy, Suzanne Husky¹, Otobong Nkanga², etc). It is also the occasion to visit places usually closed to the public, such as Jean-François Kreb’s intervention in a large, ghostly abandoned wine cellar.
At FRAC Grand Large, Hans Haacke and José Gamarra bear witness to the depletion of fossil and forest resources and their consequences on living organisms, whilst, conversely, Alexandre Hogue‘s paintings at LAAC celebrate a utopia of peaceful cohabitation between landscape and human intervention.
Curated by Fabrice Bousteau, Les Extatiques is an open-air exhibition on the theme of the four elements. Works by artists Jérémy Gobé³, Bob Verschueren, and Cornelia Konrads offer a fresh look at architecture, and in particular the constituent elements of the two sites where they are exhibited, Paris La Défense and La Seine Musicale.
Finally, our exhibition itinerary pierces the forest of the Meuse region, where this summer new works by the artist Marjolijn Dijkman will be inaugurated as part of the project Vent des forêts, which has been forging links between artists, local people, and the forest since 1997.

Jérémy Gobé – Corail Artefact – 2023 – Les Extatiques 2023 © Nicolas Krief


Following his three-month residency at the Château de Chambord, Lionel Sabatté is presenting 150 works in the château, as well as its park and formal garden, some of them made from the château’s own dust. The artist also has a solo show at the Monastère Royal de Brou in Bourg-en-Bresse. Since May 27th, Anne-Charlotte Finel‘s⁵ videos at the fortress of Salses, Pyrénées-Orientales, have rendered its bats and other little-considered animals visible. Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire devotes its summer to the pioneering Art Orienté Objet duo, with a retrospective exhibition entitled “Je suis contre!” highlighting the artists’ wide-spanning research into recycling, ethnology, and biology. Finally, Eva Jospin4 takes over the rooms of the Palais des Papes in Avignon. Her monumental cardboard installations transport us into mysterious forests while responding to the history and Gothic architecture of the building (Palazzo exhibition on view until January 7th, 2024).

Art Orienté Objet, Paysage microbiotique, 2016 © Galerie Les filles du calavaire


At Toulon’s Hôtel des Arts and as part of the Design Parade, “SECOND NATURE” brings together a selection of designers exploring the different pathways of sustainable design, until November 5th. The exhibition features remarkable examples of biofabrication from numerous French national collections (CNAP, Mobilier national, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Centre Pompidou), including Marlène Huissoud‘s fascinating Cocoon cabinet, made from thousands of silkworm cocoons covered in propolis (bee resin), and a chair from Samuel TomatisAlga series, made from an innovative material based on invasive seaweed from the Brittany coast.



The year 2023 marks an important turning point for Les Rencontres d’Arles. While the Arles festival’s eco-design approach is not new (the walls were already being reused in the 2000s), this year’s edition, from July 3rd to September 24th, stands out for its collective reflection on the subject alongside ecologists, historians, and urban planners from Lyon’s Cité Anthropocène, and the festival’s involvement in the group ‘Collectif des Festivals Éco-responsables et Solidaires’. This year’s program is also particularly influenced by ecological concerns. The “GROW UP” exhibition program at the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation, for example, offers a cross-section of perspectives on the relationship between plants and people around the world. The exhibition Luces Distantes presents Marc Lathuillière‘s “environmental portraits”, highlighting the resistance of the Afro-descendant community of Madre Unión in Colombia against deforestation and threats from agro-industrialists and narco-paramilitaries. Chuan Lun Wu5 presents JTC, a series of photographs of plants placed in pots made from recycled industrial containers, a habit adopted by the inhabitants of Taiwan, which resonates with the highly industrialized landscape of the region. In the exhibition “Ici près”, Mathieu Asselin, Tanja Engelberts and Sheng-Wen Lo reveal how the ecosystems of Arles and its surrounding area are being impacted by human activities, and question our responsibility. Peruvian photographer Roberto Huarcaya invites the vegetation of the Amazon rainforest to write their own stories and testify to their own vulnerability, using carefully-placed light-sensitive paper. Also of note is the Fondation Thalie’s Hors les Murs event in Arles, “Persephone”, featuring photographs by Leslie Moquin that document the clothing sculptures created by Jeanne Vicerial as part of her residency at the Académie de France in Rome – Villa Médicis.

Chuan Lun Wu, 「Grow Up」展覽現場, « GROW UP », Fondation Ortiz © Chuan Lun Wu

This unique Tour de France, from the treetops of the plant world to the overspilling of pollution, allows us to rethink and feel differently about our relationship with the planet and other living things. These artists and researchers lead a life more deeply rooted in the earth, closer to and more respectful of living beings, a philosophy of being in the world that we can all draw inspiration from in the future.

Pauline Lisowski and Aloïs Loizeau

Translation (from French): Oscar Bardet and Stefano Vendramin

July 2023 

Cover: Lionel Sabatté, “Pollens clandestins”, Château de Chambord © Château de Chambord

Impact Art News, June-July 2023 #44

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¹ In conversation with Suzanne Husky, Impact Art News #16
² In conversation with Otobong Nkanga, Impact #18
³ En conversation avec Jérémy Gobé, Impact Art News #19
In conversation with Lionel Sabatté, Impact Art News #11
Lauréat.e du Prix Planète Art Solidaire d’Art of Change 21
Art of Change 21’s Eco-Design Prize laureate
In conversation with Chuan Lun Wu, Impact Art News #41

Lara Almarcegui, Guillaume Barth, Nicolas Daubanes, Denicolai & Provoost, François Génot, Guillaume Greff, Katrin Gattinger & Anna Guilló, Claudie Hunzinger, Suzanne Husky, Myriam Mihindou, Sandra Knecht, Jochen Lempert, Feral Practice, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Steiner & Lenzlinger, Bruno Serralongue, Lois Weinberger
SUR LES BORDS DU MONDE Férales, fières & farouches | 01.07.23 – 19.11.23
FRAC Alsace (Sélestat, Grand Est)
Nicolas Pirus
Mémoires de plantes | 24.06.23 – 17.09.2023
Le Creux de l’Enfer (Thiers, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
Ivana Adaime Makac
Primeurs, Zombies, Nagori | 02.07.23 – 19.08.23
Le Ravitaillement (Gavray-sur-Seine, Normandie)
Charlotte Gautier van Tour
BLOOM | 14.07.2023 – 17.09.2023
Maison Forte de Hautetour (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Paula Valero, Pascale Obolo
Herbier Résistant Rosa Luxemburg | 01.04.23 – 31.10.23
Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (Aubervilliers, Île-de-France)

Catherine Empis
Paysage. Fenêtre sur la nature | 29.03.23 – 24.07.23
Louvre-Lens (Lens, Hauts-de-France)

Bianca Biondi, Dominique Bailly, Fabien Merelle, Giuseppe Penone, Julien Salaud (…)
Enchanter la Terre | 01.04.23 – 12.11.23
Château du Rivau (Lémeré, ​​Centre-Val de Loire)

Vincent Laval, Fabrice Hyber (…)
À la rencontre du vivant | 08.04.23 – 17.12.23
Fondation Goodplanet (Paris, Île-de-France)

Naïmé Amelot, Mark Alsterlind, Jessica Buczek, Cyrille Borgnet Dupont, Ursula Caruel, Laurent Cerciat, Ti’Iwan Couchili, Thierry Dubreuil, Lélia Demoisy, Francis Hallé, Baptiste Lignel, Diana Lui, Vincent Lajarige, Genevieve Michon, Mathilde Sanson-Wolff, Sarah Valente
Chemins de cimes21.03.23 – 07.01.24
Domaine de Certes et Graveyron (Audenge, Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Michel Blazy, Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, Suzanne Husky, Otobong Nkanga, Gina Pane, (…)
Frac Grand Large – Hauts-de-France & LAAC – Musée de France (Dunkerque, Hauts-de-France)
Jérémy Gobé, Cornelia Konrads, Julien Slaud, Bob Verschueren (…)
Les Extatiques | 22.06.23 – 01.10.23
La Défense (Paris, Île-de-France)

Marjolijn Dijkman
Déja vu | à partir du 15.07.23
Vent des Forêts (Fresnes-au-Mont, Grand Est)

Lionel Sabatté
POLLENS CLANDESTINS | 14.05.23 – 17.09.23
Domaine national de Chambord (Centre-Val de Loire)
Lionel Sabatté
Le Tissu | 24.04.23 – 20.09.23
Monastère royal de Brou (Bourg-en-Bresse, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
Anne-Charlotte Finel
Sol27.05.23 – 17.09.23
Forteresse de Salses (Salses-le-Château, Occitanie)

Je suis contre ! | 01.07.23 – 23.09.23
Galerie Les filles du calvaire (Paris, Île-de-France)

Eva Jospin
Palazzo | 30.06.23 – 07.01.24
Palais des Papes (Avignon, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Andrea Branzi, Maarten Baas, studio Formafantasma, Marlène Huissoud, Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, Samuel Tomatis (…)
SECONDE NATURE, Exposition pour un design durable | 23.06.23 – 05.11.23
Hôtel des Arts de Toulon (Toulon, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Chuan-Lun Wu, Marc Lathuillière (…)
GROW UP | 03.07.23 – 24.09.23
Les Rencontres d’Arles, Fondation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz (Arles, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Mathieu Asselin, Tanja Engelberts, Sheng-Wen Lo
Ici Près | 03.07.23 – 24.09.23
Les Rencontres d’Arles, Monoprix (Arles, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Roberto Huarcaya
Traces | 03.07.23 – 24.09.23
Les Rencontres d’Arles, Croisière (Arles,Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Jeanne Vicerial, Leslie Moquin
Persephone | 03.07.23 – 24.09.23
Fondation Thalie Hors les Murs (Arles,Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Jacques Perconte
Marée Metal | 23.06.23 – 3.09.23
Le Lieu Unique (Nantes)

Jérémy Gobé
Empreintes | 03.06.23 – 17.09.23
Domaine du Rayol (Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Maya Rochat
Poetry of the Earth | 07.06.23 – 01.10.23
MEP (Paris, Île-de-France)

Ana Mendieta
Aux commencements | 03.06.23 – 17.09.23
MO.CO. Panacée (Montpellier, Occitanie)

Tabita Rezaire
Fusion élémen.terre | 07.04.23 – 27.08.23
Les Abattoirs (Toulouse, Occitanie)

Barthélémy Toguo
Habiter la Terre | 16.06.23 – 17.09.23
HAB Galerie (Nantes, Pays de la Loire)

Hamish Fulton
A Walking Artist | 25.03.23 – 29.10.23
FRAC – plateau explorations (Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur)

Marine Nouvel
La pudeur des Mycètes | 07.03.23 – 05.11.23
Cité des sciences et de l’industrie (Paris, Île-de-France)

Cécile Beau, Noémie Goudal, Joan Mitchell, Angelika Markul, Anna Prugne (…)
L’Univers sans l’Homme | 13.05.23 – 17.09.23
Musée de Valence, art et archéologie (Valence, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.)