September 25, 2023


Without Art It's Really Boring!!!

Domaine des Etangs: the place artwork echoes the normal earth

6 min read

A 13th-century château-turned-luxurious resort in a 2,500-acre idyllic landscape of forests, meadows and seven lakes could be an not likely website for modern day artwork reveals that communicate to eco-urgency. But for the past 5 several years there have been once-a-year surroundings-targeted exhibitions at Domaine des Etangs, Garance Primat’s relatives estate in Massignac, France — which is also a web site for biodiversity exploration.

Primat is a collector and philanthropist who began commissioning monumental site-unique perform on her assets (as aspect of her collection of over 1,000 operates), with an eye towards art as a mirror of our human and non-human surroundings. The most current exhibition, Primordial Waters, curated by Claudia Paetzold, reimagines drinking water as the resource for these reflections, opening at a time when, ironically, the environment was large with the assure of rain.

In a new commission, “For Floating Bells and Amplified Lake (the place centenary mussels dwell)”, seem artist Tomoko Sauvage directs 6 performers shoulders-deep in just one of the lakes. Utilizing mallets to tap and sound standing bells (or singing bowls), they develop unstructured, clanging sounds. Sauvage was inspired by the jal tarang, an outdated Indian percussive arrangement of ceramic bowls, which modulate pitch dependent on the amount of h2o.

Hydrophones had been installed beneath the lake, which is apparently populated with hundred-yr-outdated freshwater mussels. Donning silent disco headphones, I could hardly make out the augmented underwater appears. In this fluid scenography, one thing was amiss. I kept wanting to know what the performers ended up listening to and sensation. Have been they subsequent the small actions of mussels impacted by the bells’ vibrations as sonic cues?

Tomás Saraceno’s ‘Cloud Towns: du sol au soleil’ (2022) © Arthur Péquin

At moments the audio translated into a sensuous trickling or scooping of h2o, like staying enable in to an intimate area. But largely, it bled into the performative gonglike echoes, hen chatter and the effects of a minimal-lying wind like static electric power, with sonic textures that felt muffled, viscous and bubbly.

The general performance sparked queries on the significance of open-air interventions as a kind of community art, specially when situated in a postcard-fantastic, bucolic landscape that will possibly only be obtainable to a privileged handful of. Sauvage’s 50 %-hour efficiency finished with drizzle, the prelude to a rainstorm: as Sauvage put it, the serious efficiency was enacted by the natural setting.

Inside the property’s gallery area, La Laiterie, are two of Pamela Rosenkranz’s 2021 “Alien Blue Window” lightboxes, the LED-blue turning a further hue as the natural gentle fades. These are in conversation with — and in opposition to — Yves Klein’s “182 Le Monochrome” (1961), a historic textural function in his specific blue, discreetly positioned at the rear of a passageway wall. In “Fantomas” (2023), 5 suspended metallic chains by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, each individual connecting cloudlike varieties, delicately splice the air, barely perceptible. With gaps at the edges, they study like damaged indicators or ambiguous symbols.

‘Alien Blue Window’ lightbox (2021) by Pamela Rosenkranz © Arthur Péquin
Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Antireductionist Mirror Spiral’ (2021) © Arthur Péquin

In distinction, a preponderance of functions by Olafur Eliasson felt weighty. A black box showcases Eliasson’s murky mild and shadow-enjoy in “The Casting of Shortly Right after Now” (2021), a sophisticated projection comprising light, glass and lenses attached to motors and mirrors. But the artist’s double helix-shaped “Antireductionist Mirror Spiral” (2021), a funhouse object multiplying our reflections in stainless steel spheres, and “Sound System Versus Void Sequence” (2021), a constellation of elliptical cutouts on translucent coloured glass panes on driftwood, occupy a a lot more ornamental function.

As did the neatness of the puddle-like drinking water kept in put with a hydrophobic coat atop Nina Canell’s floor sculpture “Days of Inertia” (2023). These sculptural slabs were sourced from rock debris thanks to the Rochechouart meteorite landing in the spot 260mn yrs back just one slab, with a mossy overgrowth, stood out.

The most sensorial and web-site-responsive get the job done in this demonstrate was not visual. When the tide shifted that evening, we ended up confronted with a powerful organic scent — moist, fermented and earthy — sweeping as a result of the gallery place. It came from diffuser products in the gallery with which Sissel Tolaas’s “N-E-W-S” (2023) reproduces the scent of the Domaine’s oldest lake from molecular details taken from cardinal points (north, east, west and south).

“I’m generating an graphic of invisible particles by cutting down scent into person molecules,” Tolaas tells me. “It’s like breaking a photograph into pixels. Twice a day, during superior and low tide in the Atlantic, I hack the air conditioning system by programming the air movement to emit the complicated scent of the ocean.” Considering that scent is more powerful in a substantial wind, we had been enduring the benefits of the water’s motion picked up by wind sensors in the lake, which then feed facts into a microcomputer that programmes the smells inside of the gallery — once again, it appeared that the climate was on our side.

A smooth slab of rock with a shiny surface sits on a gallery floor
Nina Canell’s ‘Days of Inertia’ (2023), sourced from rock particles made by a meteorite landing © Arthur Péquin

The idea of water as an originary and transformative power that rises and recedes arrived by strongly right here. It was a deep-smelling face akin to avant-garde American composer Pauline Oliveros’ deep listening practices, which carry awareness to our acoustic natural environment — from perceived to inaudible and remembered audio — as a industry of concentration. Like listening to the act of listening, this was about smelling as a conscious act.

“It’s time to seem into interaction techniques outside of semantic, semiotic and visual codes. Chemical compounds notify us a thing,” Tolaas suggests. “Like what does it suggest to be in context of many others, to be portion of an interconnected community?”

This resonates with a line by Roni Horn in “Saying Water” (2007), an audio piece put in in a bushy enclave by the property’s entrance: “Sometimes, when I search at the river, I can see into it slightly, not very significantly, not a lot more than an inch or too — but it offers a experience that the drinking water is occupied, nearly to the actual volume of the river, with anything other than water, potentially another water.”

A simple sculpture made from metal wire hangs in a gallery
Set up watch of ‘Primordial Waters’, with sculpture by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané in the foreground © Arthur Péquin

Horn leaves the listener with a sense of the opaque inscrutability of h2o. A very unique perspective will be taken by Caroline Corbasson, who, influenced by the sea as an ancient astronomical mirror, will be creating a function, “Mirror Lakes” (2023), for the wintertime solstice, guiding an observation of the stars from the lake.

Other is effective will be extra at various details of this nine-month-lengthy exhibition, such as Jean-Marie Appriou’s eerie “Swamp-Fairy” (2022), akin to a prehistoric dragonfly, also the symbol of Primat’s collection. His significant sculpture will be perched outside, upcoming to a swampy region and earlier mentioned the key breeding ground of dragonflies, thousands of which are preserved at Domaine.

Nearby are other impressively mounted sculptures these kinds of as Tomás Saraceno’s utopic “Cloud Cities: du sol au soleil” (2022), sited over the edge of the Rochechouart crater, now stuffed with h2o. A miniature version of this do the job in the gallery paled in comparison. I still left the exhibition pondering that in the sheer scale of our surroundings, artwork could only serve as a meagre illumination of the boundlessness and shortage in our ecological minute.

To March 22, 2024,

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