The representation of the rural world crosses the history of art, from Jean-François Millet, to Rosa Bonheur through Vincent Van Gogh, Kazimir Malevitch or Marc Chagall, the examples are numerous. Whether with a concern for realism, or even naturalism, or with a desire to inscribe the subject in an ideological discourse, the representation of the peasant world is, most often, the object of manipulation. Epinal’s images remain and reverberate in the collective imagination. If for some the peasant world is vector either of struggles or of submissions, it remains for others a space of utopias and fantasies. It suffers from a spectacular lack of interest not only in politics, but also in society as a whole.
Artists also shun agricultural issues. The exhibition then intends to ask questions: what about the current agricultural reality? How do artists capture the subject today? How do they represent a world that seems to be sidelined from society? Despite the fundamental importance of the peasant world, which is at the foundation of world food, I observe both this collective disinterest, but also a blatant ignorance of a sector relegated to the margins of society. I then wanted to gather the works of ten artists who, each in their own way, deal with the peasant world. Some, such as sociologists, go to meet the different trades to report on specific contexts and situations, or their daily lives. Charges Fréger photographs the students of a Normandy agricultural high school. Julien Beneyton’s documentary paintings depict breeders in the Limousin. Marie Voignier tragically films the invasion of starlings in the fields of culture. Terence Pique observes and collects the testimonies of Spanish agricultural workers to highlight a lexicon intimately linked to their work: COMIDA – TECHNOLOGIA – ESFUERZO. Aurélie Ferruel and Florentine Guedon delve into and hybridize rural traditions. While Kapwani Kiwanga through the distribution of the same gesture raises the question of the care given to the landscape. Roman Moriceau raises the question of the transformation of animals by shaping in clay a chicken deprived of its feathers. The animal, genetically modified, is made optimal and perfectly adapted to meat processing methods. Nicolas Boulard sets up a mobile cultivation system by creating the Clos Mobile, a plot in which he cultivates vines of great vintages. According to a rigorous method, Eric Tabuchi photographs agricultural sheds partially covered with graffiti. These portraits of hangars reflect a situation of abandonment and slow disappearance. In 2011, Édouard Glissant declared «Agis in your place, think with the world!». The title and spirit of the exhibition borrow from the thought of Glissant who invites us to act, to think and to be indignant.
Commissariat / Julie Crenn
With the participation of Julien Beneyton – Nicolas Boulard – Aurélie Ferruel & Florentine Guédon – Charles Fréger – Kapwani Kiwanga – Roman Moriceau – Térence Pique – Eric Tabuchi – Marie Voignier.
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