"We remain alive and alert in the vanishing forests of the world." - Edward O. Wilson
Edward O. Wilson, the American biologist who propagated the concept of biodiversity, poetically evokes the paradox that is ours today. At a time when so many natural landscapes are tending to disappear, the human race, in a vital impulse, is deploying ever-increasing energy to preserve what can still be preserved, to archive what tomorrow will no longer be. Many artists today echo this movement, implementing processes of collecting, preserving, archiving and even recreating nature by artificial means.
The four artists gathered for this exhibition, whether or not they are directly interested in the subject of the Anthropocene, also contribute to this momentum.
Gaëlle Leenhardt is inspired by the processes of sedimentation and fossilisation at work in the landscape, traces of the living immortalised for eternity, through sculpture and silver photography. In a film by Antoine Chapon, an ex-military man treats post-traumatic stress by generating natural landscapes in a video game engine used for combat simulations. Luca Vanello creates arrangements of ghostly plants, frozen between life and death by a meticulous chemical process. Finally, Sybil Montet uses video and 3D sculpture to stage landscapes in the process of dissolution, like memories that have already disappeared.
Combining organic materials and digital technologies, these artists translate with acuity the contemporary modalities of our relationship to the living and its evolution. They make the feeling of dynatalgy (from the Greek dynaton, the possible) sensitive. Coined by the philosopher Vinciane Despret, this neologism translates a widespread affect today, the nostalgia of possibilities, a melancholy of what could have been and will not be, in the vanished forests of the world.