As a partner of the Pinault Collection’s artist-in-residency program in Lens, Le Fresnoy presented the exhibition “The Poetry of Science,” bringing together works created by the first participating artists.


<div class="col m-10 pull-right align-right"> <span class="lieu">Le Fresnoy—Studio National</span><br> <span class="lieu">des arts contemporains / Tourcoing</span> </div> <br> <br> <br> <br> <div class="col m-10"> <span class="title">« Poétique</span><br> <span class="title">des Sciences »</span> </div> <div class="clear"><br><br><br></div> <div class="col m-4 auteur pull-left noclick"> <div class="inner" style="padding-top:20px"> <div class="white"> <a class="switch">Interview of</a><br> <b>Pascale Pronnier</b><br> Curator of the exhibition </div> </div> </div> <div class="col m-4 auteur pull-right noclick"> <div class="inner"> <div class="white"> <a class="switch">Interview by</a><br> <b>Céline Doussard</b><br> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clear"><br><br><br><br><br><br></div> <i><u>Céline Doussard</u> — How did you decide to stage this exhibition, bringing together art and science to transform the halls of Le Fresnoy into a poetic laboratory?</i> <br><br> <u>Pascale Pronnier</u> — The methods of artists and scientists are not actually all that different from one another; they can even be complimentary. By bringing the two fields together, we can enrich both, leading to the creation of original poetic situations. Our goal with this exhibition was to examine the similarities between artistic and scientific research, by bringing together four artists—Hicham Berrada, Edith Dekyndt, Melissa Dubbin, and Aaron S. Davidson—whose work hinges on their relationship to their lived reality and to the environment, to visible and invisible phenomena. <br><br> <i><u>CD</u> — It was a happy coincidence that the artists included are also all participants in our artist-in-residency program in Lens. How did you discover their work?</i> <br><br> <u>PP</u> — I discovered each of these artists separately, under different circumstances. In 2010, we organized a show about the emerging contemporary art scene in Belgium at Le Fresnoy that included Edith Dekyndt. Her solo shows at the Musée des Arts Contemporains Grand Hornu, at Wiels Contemporary Art Center in Belgium, and at Le Consortium in Dijon had made a strong impression, and I had since then been hoping to find another opportunity to work with her. I knew Hicham Barrada since he was a student at Le Fresnoy from 2011 to 2013. At the time, he would try to provoke nature in his performances: for instance, by trying to wake up a field of heliotropes in the middle of the night (<i>Natural Process Activation #3 Bloom</i>, 2012) or by filling a tank with 5,000 liters of water, to which he added the prebiotic molecules necessary for new life to emerge(<i>Natural Process Activation #1 Arche</i>, 2013). And finally, getting to know Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson during their residency in Lens meant that I was able to observe their creative process up close, as they were working. The series Fossil Record (2016), presented in our exhibition, was produced at Le Fresnoy. <br><br> <i><u>CD</u> — What is the similarity among their approaches that guided your presentation of their work?</i> <br><br> <u>PP</u> — These artists all approach the creative process by focusing on just that, the process, rather than on the end result. The exhibition included works combining scientific and in-situ analysis that were adapted or reactivated specifically for this exhibition at Le Fresnoy. <br><br> <i><u>CD</u> — Is nature another common concern of these artists? They each seem to be inspired by nature, in their experiments, in very different ways.</i> <br><br> <u>PP</u> — Berrada is part of a long tradition of artists representing landscapes: like an alchemist, he seeks to capture a moment of transformation, when the invisible takes form before our very eyes. Dekyndt focuses on the political and historic aspects of nature in her seemingly minimal work, while Dubbin and Davidson explore the ways in which time leaves its mark on nature, how objects register and render the evolution of matter. <br><br> <i><u>CD</u> — These artists seem to endow painting with a new definition. Could we speak of a subversion of painting in the works on display?</i> <br><br> <u>PP</u> — Rather than subverting, I would say that these artists are attempting to broaden the territory of painting, at times quite literally—by making the exhibition space an extension of their studios. For Céleste (2014), Berrada created a landscape of cobalt-blue explosions, while Dekyndt’s installation L’Ennemi du peintre (2017), with its sweetly smelling bouquets of lilies, evokes Italian and Dutch painting. Dubbin and Davidson created a series of paintings depicting a prehistorical underground forest. <br><br> <i><u>CD</u> — This exhibition is a reminder that Le Fresnoy is an important center for artistic production and experimentation.</i> <br><br> <u>PP</u> — Le Fresnoy is both a studio and a school; it evolves and changes in response to the artists’ needs in terms of the education it provides, the works it articipates in producing, and the exhibitions it organizes. It’s a utopian vision that has now been a reality for more than twenty years.
 
Edith Dekyndt, « L’ennemi du peintre », 2017 <br>Mixed media
 
Exhibition view, « Poétique des Sciences », Le Fresnoy, 2017
 
Hicham BERRADA <br><i>Présage</i>, 2017 <br>Video HD 360° from a performance <br>8’
 
Melissa Dubbin <br>& Aaron S. Davidson <br><i>Acoustic Mirror</i>, 2017 <br>Ceramic <br>Dimensions variables
 

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