The year 2022 promises to be an excellent year in France for art news relating to ecology and the environment, as highlighted in this first overview of the exhibitions over the coming months. Not just in Paris, but all around France, more than twenty exhibitions can attest to a less egocentric vision of humankind relative to the living world. Thus we open the year with a renewed sense of optimism by showing new ways of living together at a time when, more than ever, we are confronted by the ecological crisis.
New ways of living on planet Earth
Lille: French Capital of Environmental Culture? Almost 20 years after being the European Capital of Culture, marking the start of the lille3000 triennial, the new edition “Utopia” focuses on the theme of the environment and explores utopia as a source of inspiration for an alternative relationship with the Earth, through around 100 exhibitions and events. Three major contemporary art exhibitions are at the heart of this season: Les Vivants , organized by the Fondation Cartier at the Tri Postal, curated by Bruce Albert and Hervé Chandès (including Bernie Krauze , Fabrice Hyber and numerous artists from the Amazon basin); Novacene, curated by Alice Audouin* and Jean-Max Colard at Saint Sauveur (including 20 artists such as Haroon Mirza , Otobong Nkanga , Fabien Léaustic , Anna Komarova , Bianca Bondi , and Zheng Bo ); and Le Serpent Cosmique , curated by Fabrice Bousteau at the Hospice Comtesse museum (including Leandro Erlich , Piero Gilardi , and Zevs ).
At the Center Pompidou Metz is the collective exhibition You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet (You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet), part of the Taipei Biennial and curated by Bruno Latour and Martin Guimard. Where should we land? What planet do we live on? Who am I? These are some of the questions that the exhibition’s curators are seeking to answer. Here we discover works by artists from the Taiwanese scene as well as international artists such as Femke Herregraven and Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas .
At the gallery In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc (Romainville) since January 9, Otobong Nkanga presents new olfactory works alongside her work on overexploited natural resources. The notion of “care” and the generosity promoted by the artist are also on display within the gallery itself. Nkanga has decided to share her exhibition with four other young artists whom she wishes to make better known. Also in and around Paris, The Study of Traces , an exhibition of the work of Wiktoria Wojciechowska (winner of the Prix Planète Art Solidaire d’Art of Change 21** in 2021) opened on January 21 at gallery Sono, Paris, presenting a range of her photographs, sculptures, and installations. The traces of plants and stones on skin invite the audience to think about reconnecting with nature. Likewise, the exhibition Since everything passes (Since everything passes) by Hossein Valamanesh , an Australian artist of Iranian origin who died suddenly on January 15, 2022, is showing at the Institute of Islamic Cultures, Paris, encouraging us to consider our relationship with nature and the impermanence of the elements.
An homage to plants
Many contemporary artists are pursuing an exploration of the plant as a material for creation, as attested by important solo and group exhibitions throughout France. At the Guimet Museum, Paris, Duy Anh Nhan Duc exhibits three installations inviting us to imagine a plant life that takes back its rights, through the study of dandelions and other collected wildflowers. In Dunkirk, the LAAC has dedicated a retrospective to Marinette Cueco , well known for her “entrelacs” (interlacings), made through the braiding of plants that she collects. An exhibition of the works of herman de vries , equally as sensitive to the plant world, has also just opened at the abbey of Annecy-le-Vieux, curated by Jean-Marc Salomon. In a philosophical approach close to that of herman de vries, based on walking and meditating, the American Helen Mirra is invited for the first time to exhibit at a French institution: the Musée d’art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne – Château de Rochechouart .
At Maison Salvan, in Labège (near Toulouse) from February 9, Marie Ouazzani & Nicolas Carrier (winners of the Planète Art Solidaire Prize from Art of Change 21) will present the exhibition Minor Collision (Minor Collision), in which domesticated plants illustrate their ability to grow in an urban environment. In this field of solo exhibitions, also worth mentioning is Eva Jospin ‘s exhibition at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, recently reopened and expanded, which allows the public to discover her latest works in cardboard, fantastical worlds that span nature and architecture.
At the Schneider Foundation in Wattwiller, in the north-east of France, botanical science is the subject of the group exhibition Botanica, which brings together artists from MOTOCO in Mulhouse, such as Emmanuel Henninger. The preservation of forests, another equally urgent issue, is at the heart of the exhibition held by the non-profit organization Forest Art Project at the Jacobins church in Agen, curated by Pauline Lisowski***. Alongside the drawings of renowned botanist Francis Hallé, the works of eleven artists, including Vincent Lajarige , Claude Como , Ursula Caruel and Mark Alsterlind, help to create an imaginary forest that encourages us to feel closer to biodiversity that needs to be preserved.
The living world, and the relationship between humans and non-humans
At the Cuisine, Center for Art and Design in Négrepelisse, Diane Trouillet & al have created an exhibition-laboratory entitled War and Peace of the Living. Invited to act within the space, visitors are thereby encouraged to be more sensitive to the interactions that occur between species. Also in rural France, Rurart, the only contemporary art center under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, is hosting a solo exhibition by performance artist Sarah Trouche . With the feeling that the human body will not be able to cope with the ecological crisis, she chooses the path of flight and withdrawal.
At the MO.CO. Panacée, Montpellier, for his first monographic exhibition in a European institution, the American artist Max Hooper Schneider has installed his “forensic gardens” as well as a set of works whose materials have been subjected to the vagaries of time.
In addition, “ I am an animal” ( I am an animal) is the theme of the artistic season of the Departmental Domain of Chamarande, Essonne. The season will open on March 26 with the collective exhibition “Becoming another animal”. The works of eight artists, including Julien Salaud , Odonchimeg Davaadorj , and Delphine Gigoux-Martin , will be displayed at the castle, with a journey of artworks that make us rethink our relationships and similarities with other animals. Following her research and creation residency at the Musée national de la Marine, Paris, and the Center de la Mer, Rochefort, Elsa Guillaume displays her ceramics in both venues. Other works can also be discovered at the Corderie Royale. These two exhibitions invite us on a journey to the marine world, the imagination it provides and the protection it requires.
The art market: a trailblazer?
Last but not least, the new edition of the Art Paris art fair, held from April 7 to 10, 2022, is placing nature and the environment at its heart. The director Guillaume Piens has invited two curators, Alfred Pacquement and Alice Audouin, to highlight a selection of artists exhibited at the show around this theme. Eva Jospin and Anne and Patrick Poirier, among others, feature in Alfred Pacquement’s selection, whilst Suzanne Husky and Michelangelo Pistoletto are among the artists chosen by Alice Audouin. A major first in the history of major contemporary art fairs, Art Paris will unveil a new eco-design approach, as well as the results of its carbon life cycle analysis, developed with Karbone Prod, in collaboration with Solinnen and Art of Change 21.
In 2022, a new era has arrived, encouraging artists to imagine and create a world where living plants, humans, and animals live together in harmony, promising many more beautiful, philosophical, and tangible artistic perspectives.
(Translated by Stefano Vendramin)
Cover Credits: Sarah Trouche, Activation Svalbard, Aware that she cannot continue on the path of the Living, she makes the decision to leave it, Rurart, 2021 / Taisia Korotkova From the Dark Forest series (2) 2018, Black liner on the back side of the tablecloth 280 × 650 cm / Elsa Guillaume Triplekit series, Exhibition 10 years of ceramics at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, 2018 / Max Hooper Schneider, Eocene Epizoon: Virus Spire (detail), 2021. Courtesy of the artist and High Art, Paris – Arles
Find all the articles from Impact Art News n°36 January / February 2022
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*: publication director and editor-in-chief of Impact Art News
**: editor of Impact Art News
***: author of this article
> The next article dedicated to exhibition news will focus on international exhibitions.
Cover: Anna Komarova, Another Forest, 2021 / Pteridophilia 1, 2016, Zheng Bo / Sarah Trouche, Activation Svalbard, With the awareness that she cannot continue on the path of the Living, she makes the decision to leave it, Rurart, 2021 / Elsa Guillaume Triplekit series, 10 years of ceramics exhibition at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, 2018 / Max Hooper Schneider, Eocene Epizoon: Virus Spire (detail), 2021. Courtesy of the artist and High Art, Paris – Arles
Edition Utopia, lille3000 , Lille. The Living , The Tripostal, Novacène , Gare Saint-Sauveur, The Cosmic Serpent , Hospice Comtesse Museum, 14 May – 2 October 2022. Link
You and me, we don’t live on the same planet , Center Pompidou Metz, 6 November 2021 – 4 April 2022. Link
Togethering , Otobong Nkanga and friends, Insitu Fabienne Leclerc gallery, Romainville, 9 January – 12 February 2022. Link
The Study of Traces , solo show, Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Sono gallery, Paris, 21 January – 12 March 2022. Link
Since everything passes , solo show, Hossein Valamanesh, The Institute of Islamic Cultures , Paris, 23 September 2021 – 13 February 2022. Link
Duy Anh Nhan Duc , Guimet Museum, Paris, 10 November 2021 – 7 February 2022. Link
The Natural Order of Things , solo show, Marinette Cueco, LAAC, Dunkirk, 16 October 2021 – 6 March 2022. Link
herman de vries , The Abbey – Contemporary art space, Annecy-le-Vieux, 21 January – 24 April 2022. Link
Du Vent au Vent , solo show, Helen Mirra, Contemporary Art Museum Haute-Vienne,Rochechouart Cassle, 28 February – 18 September 2022. Link
Minor collision , solo show, Marie Ouazzani & Nicolas Carrier, Maison Salvan, Labège, 9 February – 2 April 2022. Link
Galleria , solo show, Eva Jospin, Museum of Hunting and Nature, Paris, 16 November 2021 – 20 March 2022. Link
Botanica , collective exhibition, Schneider Foundation, Wattwiller, from December 11, 2021 to March 27, 2022. Link
Forest Art Project , group sow, Jacobins Church, Agen, from 29 January – 30 April 2022. Link
War and peace of the living , Diane Trouillet & al, La Cuisine, center for art and design, Négrepelisse, 6 November 2021 – 6 March 2022. Link
With the awareness that she cannot continue on the path of the Living, she makes the decision to leave it, solo exhibition by Sarah Trouche, Rurart, 19 November 2021 – 16 February 2022. Link
Rotting in a Free World , solo show, Max Hooper Schneider, at MO.CO. Panacée, Montpellier, 12 February – 24 April 2022. Link
Becoming another animal , group show, Departmental Domain of Chamarande, from March 26 – September 18, 2022. Link
D’ombre et d’écume , solo exhibition by Elsa Guillaume, National Navy Museum, Rochefort, 6 February – 31 December 2022. Link
Bathyskaphos , personal exhibition by Elsa Guillaume, Center International de la Mer – Corderie Royale, Rochefort, 6 February – 31 December 2022. Link
Art Paris , from April 7 to 10, 2022. Link
Other exhibitions not to be missed :
Vanilla oxide , exhibition by Bianca Bondi, Cap Saint Fons, from 01/29 to 03/05 2022
Su , by Mehmet Ali Uysal, at Bon Marché, left bank, Paris, from 01/08 – 02/20 2022
Compost by Isa Melsheimer at MAMAC in Nice, from 11/20 2021 – 02/27 2022
Paris 50-75, Frans Krajcberg, a Brazilian in Montparnasse , Espace Krajcberg, Paris, 12/15 2021 – 03/26 2022
Two or three , Cécile Beau and Bertrand Rigaud, gallery 22m48 2 , Paris, 01/08 – 02/26 2022
What is the color of green? , Gabriela Albergaria, Gulbenkian Library, Paris, House of Portugal, 01/19 – 03/18 2022