Special Art & Forests: portrait of Sara Favriau

Sara Favriau, born in 1983, shifts scales, symbols and objects – often with humor – bringing out the meaning of fortuitous, sometimes accidental encounters. If trees occupy an important place in this game of chance, they are also of interest to the artist because of triple temporality, articulating the past, the present and the future. Committed to climate and ecological issues, Favriau also understands the forest as a precious carbon sink, which provides common good for humanity.

The artist is currently leading a long-term forestation project entitled “Je vois trouble, longuement, un paysage transitoire” (I have blurred vision, for a long time, a transitory landscape). It is in collaboration with the research unit, Ecology of Mediterranean Forests of INRAE, ​Avignon, which works on the effects of climate change and forest management on the functioning of ecosystems. Their observation sites at Font-Blanche and Mont Ventoux are now the artist’s places of immersion and creation. This art-science project comes into contact not only with the terrain, but also with the complexity of the climatic, ecological, socio-economic and sensitive issues linked to the forest, to help raise awareness. The project will deliver its research results in poetic and sensitive forms: sculpture, performance, plays, film… in collaboration with choreographers, scientists and musicians, bringing the forest out of its rut, with, for example, a tree canoe that will go to sea…

“Forests are at the crossroads of multiple issues: climatic, ecological, socio-economic and sensitive, both contradictory and complex. They also bring together very diverse actors, scientists, foresters, industrialists, ecologists, “Zonetodefenders”… My artistic research is located precisely at this intersection, in these murky or gray areas, far from a dual or binary vision, neither black nor white. I believe that art and its dissemination can be a powerful lever in order to promote research and natural phenomena. I have the desire to create optimistic works, a drive to build a new imagination: the tree, the forest, become the keystone” says Sara Favriau.

« Cairn ou le cercle vertueux » (“Cairn or the Virtuous Circle”) is one of the first creations to emerge from this research project. It is an installation of sculpted Aleppo pine logs (trees that died from a ‘natural’ death). The Aleppo pine is an endemic species of the mediterranean region which is also a biological marker. The effect of global warming is reflected by significant phenological changes, especially in terms of growth. The trees selected in the forest of Font-Blanche in collaboration with INRAE ​​Avignon and the ONF (French National Forests Office), were sculpted and then installed in the place planned for the exhibition, the dovecote in the park of Villa Noailles in Hyères. Then lockdown arrived due to pandemic, stalling the exhibition setup. The parasites, which already inhabited their hosts, proliferated and continued to eat the Aleppo pines during the two months of paralysis. Greedy tracks of settlements and new habitats sprang from the silent bark, giving this accidental episode a natural acceleration.


Alice Audouin


Learn more: sarafavriau.com


Sara Favriau was selected and interviewed as part of a specific collaboration between Alice Audouin and the ONF, for the International Day of Forests 2021 (see here). 


March 2021

Find all the articles from Impact Art News n°28 – Mars 2021

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