"I like to awaken the joy of thinking about possibilities, about what might be," says German artist Cornelia Konrads. How far will we go if we take the enigmatic path created in the park of the Chaumont-Sur-Loire estate?
How do artists reinvent gardens?
Journalistic transcript, investigation of the fine arts magazine
Francis Hallé wants to plant a primary forest
He speaks the language of the trees whose cause he has championed for more than half a century. Biologist and botanist Francis Hallé has travelled the world to study the countless species, making some 50,000 drawings to discover at the Cartier Foundation. Thirty years ago, he instigated the Raft of the Rises (an ingenious device for studying the canopy of tropical forests), sounding the alarm about the ecological consequences of deforestation and, in order to make as many people as possible aware of the urgency of the situation, he created the Forest Art Project association in 2017, bringing together artists and scientists. But the project that is most important to him is the reconstruction of a primary forest - that is, without any traces of human exploitation in Europe. A company that takes no less than ten centuries to build! Francis Hallé wants to make it a great European cause, while the oldest forest in the EU - that of Biatowieh in eastern Poland - has been subject to intensive logging since the PiS party came to power. Various sites are under study, with the possibility of visiting them through the canopy Always as determined at 81 years of age, the researcher underlines how enthusiastic this project arouses "because there is the idea of transmission from one generation to another, which does good in these times of impatience and immediacy". D. B.
Francis Hailé Sophora Japottica covered with ivy, 2019
The intelligence of plants, a reality far from being virtual
They think, feel, communicate and react to their environment: not only are plants living beings, but they would have their own intelligence. Very serious scientific studies have recently demonstrated this, while the artists had already had the intimate intuition to do so. It is not surprising that these two fields of research - art and biology - are joining forces to create hybrid works that provide food for thought. And a lot of emotions.
Llareta #0308 - 2B31, Old Living Things on Earth series, 2014
Rachel Sussman has travelled the world to find this type of millennial living organism. The photographer is presented at the Milan Triennial in which Stefano Mancuso also participates as curator of an exhibition on plant intelligence.
Stefano Mancuso, plant neurologist
His book l'Intelligence des plantes (ed. Albin Michel), co-authored with Alessandra Viola and published in Italy in 2013, has been a hit in the scientific community - some of which still contests his work - and has attracted a large part of public opinion: it has been translated into 21 countries. Founder of "plant neurology", the Italian Stefano Mancuso demonstrated how plants are hypersensitive living beings, able to communicate with each other and with animals, to understand their environment and to interact with it, stressing that they should be used as a model to solve our ecological problems. His pioneering spirit and his taste for adventure naturally led him on the non-conforming roads of creation. Last year, he teamed up with German artist Carsten Höller to present a delirious exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, where visitors had to slide down a 20-metre slide with a small bean plant in their hands. Which one was then analyzed in a laboratory to see how he had been emotionally affected by the descent. This summer, for the Cartier Foundation, Mancuso is doing it again with a new interactive installation designed with artist Thijs Biersteker. Entitled Symbiosia, it must show in real time the electrical and sensory flows emitted by two trees in the foundation's garden and their reactivity to the surrounding public. D. B.
Fabrice Hyber, a poetic troublemaker
He is like a perennial plant, one of those sacred herbs that nothing uproots. There is no need for him to deal with fluorescent green hair, as he did in the 2000s: Fabrice Hyber is as human as he is vegetal. Not that he has the energy of a vegetable, it's quite the opposite. But trees and plants seem to be his brothers in thought. It is no coincidence that the famous plastic artist has made the rhizome one of the structuring modes of his paintings here drawings: the motifs and ideas seem to emerge from one work to another, as a push points the tip of his nose at a fertile humus, to resurface a few meters away, not quite the same, not quite different. Every time he brings his strawberry back, our Golden Lion of Venice 1997 cultivates his garden in his own way. "I like my art to be clandestine, to interfere in many different environments," he confides. Thus, in his native Vendée, he built himself an ideal landscape. In the Valley, as he calls it, once completely deforested, he planted hundreds of thousands of trees, half of them fruit trees, from all over the world. "We are not in the romantic forest but in a borehole built and thought of as a sculpture that sees its branches and falls back to recover in joy," wrote about his friend the poet Pierre Gicquel, just before his death last winter. And to elucidate in part the mystery of Hyber in the continuation of his Moême, published by Le Regard: "Sow, plant, as they say, cause trouble". E.L.
Fabrice Hyber Prototype of paradise, 2013
Inspired by the ideal garden he recreated in his native Vendée, the designer with a green soul planted this little piece of paradise for the Lyon Biennale in 2013.