Exhibitions over the summer took us on a journey across the seas and oceans, to discover the mysteries of water, from La Mer Imaginaire (The Imaginary Sea) at the Fondation Carmignac in Porquerolles to the Territoire de l’Eau (Territories of Water) at the Fondation Schneider, Wattwiller. In France, the artistic events of this autumn promise a connection to the land, plants, organic matter, and a look at agricultural practices and know-how. The artists examine the concept of living things, frequently called into question by different thinkers such as Baptiste Morizot, Estelle Zhong Mengual and Emanuele Coccia.

Agriculture and our relationship to food

Exhibitions lead us to examine the field of agriculture. Julie Crenn proposes a long-term project called Agir dans son lieu (Acting in One’s Space), which has been anchored since October 15th at Transpalette, in Bourges. The curator is interested in the links between artists and farmers. Edouard Glissant’s phrase “Act in your space, think with the world” is one of the starting points of this exhibition. The works by the artists, Le Nouveau Ministère de l’Agriculture, Nicolas Tubéry, Morgane Denzler,, give a voice to the farming world. At the Bordeaux Museum of Design, design meets the agricultural field in the exhibition that opened on July 14th, entitled Paysans designers, un art du vivant (Farmer-Designers, an art of living things), where Barbara Schroeder presents her artistic work based on cow dung. Since October 16th, at Frac PACA, the COPAIN exhibition by Gerda Steiner et Jörg Lenzlinger has highlighted bread, a food that has been constantly evolving since the advent of agriculture. The two Swiss artists offer a moment of sharing and an immersive experience for all the senses. The exhibition at the Maif Social Club in Paris, Matières à mijoter(Food for Thought), invites us to reflect on our food autonomy, through the works of eleven artists including Subodh Gupta, Azuma Makoto.

Land and flowers, subjects of group exhibitions 

At the Ferme du Buisson, a former Brie farm in Noisiel (Seine-et-Marne), the artists of the exhibition Aterrir-La terre au centre (Landing – Earth at the Centre) (which opened on October 2nd), Koichi Kurita, Rachel Labastie, Etienne de France, Anaïs Tondeur, present a reflection on the land. At the Tignous art centre in Montreuil, since September 9th, the artist Barbara Schroeder, the curator of the exhibition À même la terre (On the Earth), has brought together artists from Montreuil such as Yann Bagot, Sophie Lecomte, who invite a reflection on this subject, a symbol of origin and resources, as she does herself. Since June 3rd, the floral world has been in the spotlight at the Pommery estate in Reims, with the Blooming exhibition, which offers a journey of discovery of the floral world, with a dialogue between artists of art history and contemporary artists, Raphaëlle Peria, Laurent Pernot, Alexandre et Florentine Lamarche-Ovize, Tandem Bachelot & Caron.

Solo exhibitions by artists close to nature and committed to ecology

In the Ile-de-France region, many art centres honour committed artists who are sensitive to environmental issues. Anne-Charlotte Finel is exhibiting at the Instants Chavirés in Montreuil. Since October 10th, Sandra Rocha has placed the links between the different communities of living beings at the centre of her exhibition at the CPIF. In her images, bodies metamorphose in fusion with natural elements.

 Nicolas Floch, who recently presented his artistic work about the seabed at the FRAC PACA in Marseille, will be exhibiting at the Maubert Gallery from October 28th. Bianca Bondi is having her first museum exhibition in France. For Open Space #8 at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, she has composed a timeless interior garden from natural elements in gallery 8. She also has a solo exhibition at the Mor Charpentier Gallery in Paris. At Galerie Derouillon, Paris, Roman Moriceau invites us to look at urban plants, which we often forget to see. Claire Morgan is presenting a selection of recent works for her new solo show at the Karsten Greve Gallery, Paris, in which she encourages us to reflect on our place in nature. At the Salle Principale gallery in Paris, a tribute is also paid to Loïs Weinberger, an artist who devoted her work to ruderal plants: the exhibition Ruderal Society, which opened on September 19th.

Let us go through the regions where this commitment is most visible. Whilst the Grand Café in St Nazaire is hosting Post Atlantica, the exhibition of Noémie Goudal, an artistic work centred on the landscape, at FRAC PACA, Lara Almarcegui is presenting her work on the Friches Rio Tinto in L’Estaque, Marseille. From November 19th, Sarah Trouche will be exhibiting at Rurart, an art centre linked to an agricultural high school, and will propose a journey to reconnect us with living things.

Lionel Sabatté (reread his interview here), an artist who uses materials that bear witness to the passage of time, is having a number of solo exhibitions, including one important one at the Museum of Modern Art in St-Etienne, entitled Eclosion, which opened on September 17th. For this show, he has brought together a collection of his recent works including a large installation that echoes the museum’s environment. Jérémy Gobé (reread his interview here), whose work was recently exhibited in Marseille as part of the Biocenosis21 exhibition, will be presenting the piece Coalition, at Saint Lazare station, until November 7th.

Since October 12th, the BNF has given free rein to Giuseppe Penone, a key artist who takes the time to examine our relationship to trees and whose works reveal traces, the passage of time and memory.

Artists who pay attention to living things and reusing materials

On display until October 31st, the exhibition Rien n’est vrai, tout est vivant (Nothing is real, Everything is Alive)  will bring together artists from the first residency season at the Fondation Laccolade – Institut de France, Chloé Jeanne, (laureate of the Art of Change 21 – Ruinart Prize last june 2021), Charlotte Gautier Van Tour, Caroline Le Méhauté, with the complementary participation of artists Cristopher Cichocki and Luz Moreno.  Christopher Yggdre, the curator, accompanied the visual artists in this reflection on the forms of living things, care, and symbiosis between the elements. From November 10th, following a call for projects and in homage to Frans Krajcberg and his ecological message, the exhibition Vivants! (Alive!), will bring together the young artists Jeanne Andrieu, Bianca Dacosta, Emmanuel Henninger, Claudia Rudge, for a programme of exhibitions and meetings at the Espace Krajberg and on the Art Exprim premises.

Recycling, a topical concern, is the focus of the group exhibition at the Espace Monte Cristo, the Parisian branch of the Villa Datris Foundation. Recyclage-surcyclage (Recycling-Upcycling) brings together artists from different backgrounds, Claire Morgan, Valentina Canseco, Julia Maria Lopez Mesa, Suzanne Husky, Pascale Martine Tayou,  whose works embody the urgency of reusing materials.

Many artists are pursuing artistic work that is deeply rooted in a reflection linked to the evolution of our society, marked by new commitments and connections to the natural elements. They make themselves the spokespersons of attention to living things, which must be preserved.

Pauline Lisowski

Exhibitions mentioned in the article:

Agir dans son lieu, Transpalette, Bourges, from October 15th 2021 to January 16th 2022

Paysans designers, un art du vivant, Musée du design, Bordeaux, from July 14th 2021 to January 17th 2022

COPAIN, Frac PACA, Marseille, from October 16th 2021 to January 16th 2022

Matières à mijoter, MAIF Social Club, Paris, from October 1st 2021 to January 29th 2022

À MÊME LA TERRE, Centre d’art Tignous, Montreuil, from September 9th to October 30th 2021

Aterrir-la terre au centre, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel, from October 2nd 2021 to January 30th 2022

Blooming, Domaine Pommery, Reims, from June 3rd 2021 to January 2022

PARADES, solo exhibition by Anne-Charlotte Finel, Les Instants Chavirés, Montreuil, from September 18th to November 7th 2021

Le moindre souffle, solo exhibition by Sandra Rocha, CPIF, Pontault-Combault, from October 10th to December 19th 2021

Invisible, solo exhibition by Nicolas Floch, galerie Maubert, Paris, from October 28th to December 24th 2021

The Daydream, solo exhibition by Bianca Bondi, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, from September 22nd 2021 to January 24th 2022

SATYRICON, solo exhibition by Bianca Bondi, galerie Mor charpentier, Paris, from October 9th to December 16th 2021

Image of Other Memories, solo exhibition by Roman Moriceau, galerie Derouillon, Paris, from October 14h to November 13th 2021

A tentative strategy for a renewal, or, wanting to tell you everything and then changing my mind, solo exhibition by Claire Morgan, galerie Karsten Grève, Paris, from October 16th to December 23rd 2021

Ruderal Society, solo exhibition by Lois Weinberger, Salle Principale galerie, Paris, from September 19th to November 14th 2021

Post Atlantica, solo exhibition by Noémie Goudal, Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire, from October 10th 2021 to January 2nd 2022

Les friches Rio Tinto à L’Estaque, Marseille, solo exhibition by Lara Almarcegui, FRAC PACA, Marseille, from October 16th 2021 to January 16th 2022

Avec la conscience qu’elle ne peut poursuivre sur le chemin des Vivants, elle prend la décision de le quitter, solo exhibition by Sarah Trouche, Rurart, Rouillé, from November 19th 2021 to February 16th 2022

Eclosion, solo exhibition by Lionel Sabatté, musée d’art moderne et contemporain de St-Etienne, from September 17th 2021 to January 2nd 2022

Sève et pensée, solo exhibition by Giuseppe Penone, BNF, Paris, from October 12th 2021 to January 23rd 2022

Rien n’est vrai, tout est vivant, group exhibition, Espace Cœur Marais, 3 rue Portefoin, Paris, from October 16th-31st 2021

“VIVANTS!”, Fondation Krajberg and art exprim, Paris, from November 10th to December 11th 2021

Recyclage-surcyclage, Espace Monte Cristo, Fondation Villa Datris in Paris, from April 30th to December 19th 2021

Other exhibitions to discover:

Les Yeux Fertiles, group exhibition, private home in Saint Germain des Prés, Paris, from October 13th to November 28th 2021

Le Jardin des Lys (nos chemins partagés), solo exhibition by Florian Mermin, at the Galerie Backslash, Paris, from 18 November to 18 December

L’œil du serpent, group exhibition, Château de Rochechouart, Musée d’art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne, from October 1st to December 15th 2021

Solo exhibition by Luzia SIMONS, galerie Artcurus, Paris, from November 3rd to November 4th 2021

De feu et de pluie, group exhibition, Fondation Clément, Le François – Martinique, from September 22nd to November 11th 2021

Entretiens avec la Terre (Sakurajima), solo exhibition by Patrick Rimond, galerie L’escalier, Auxerre, until October 31st 2021

Organismes et Fantasmas, solo exhibition by Lionel Sabatté, galerie 8+4, Paris, from September 25th to November 6th 2021

Barbara & Michael Leisgen, exhibition at the MAMAC in Nice, from July 3rd 2021 to October 31st 2021

Weeping Sun, solo show by Xolo Cuintle, Romy Texier and Valentin Vie Binet, Sainte Anne Gallery, from October 14th to November 13th 2021

SILLON event, Drôme, until November 1st


Anthony Duchêne, J’enherbe le monde #2, ” Gesse sauvage “, 2018, oil on Arches paper, 102 x 66 cm, © photo Jean-Christophe Lett, Exhibition Aterrir-la terre au centre, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel

Nicolas Floc’h, Productive landscapes, Invisible, Cap Canaille, – 12 m, 2018

Sandra Rocha, Algues I, 2010, pigment inkjet print on cotton smooth paper, 66,6 x 100 cm, Le moindre souffle, solo exhibition by Sandra Rocha, CPIF, Pontault-Combault

Exhibition view Rien n’est vrai tout est vivant, Charlotte Gautier Van Tour, Chloe Jeanne, LAccolade @artofchange21

Noémie Goudal, Phœnix VII, 2021, 200 x 149,4 cm, C-Print -Courtesy of the artist, Post Atlantica, solo exhibition by Noémie Goudal, Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire

Bianca Bondi, The Daydream, 2021, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Adagp, Paris, 2021 © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Lara Almarcegui, Les Friches Rio Tinto à L’Estaque, Marseille, 2020. Production Voyons voir | art contemporain et territoire. Courtesy Mor Charpentier gallery. Collection Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Les friches Rio Tinto à L’Estaque, Marseille, solo exhibition by Lara Almarcegui, FRAC PACA , Marseille

Find all the articles from Impact Art News n°34 – October 2021

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