«Australia: Defending the Oceans»: aboriginal sculptures in recycled fishing nets «The Crossing of Appearances»: Hélène Ash, underwater photographs «Codex in fantastic waters»: street art for a marine bestiary
From April to September 2017, the Aquarium de Paris presents a major exhibition on coral reefs. Its aim is to publicize the diversity and beauty of the underwater world, as well as initiatives intended to preserve this unique and important heritage for humanity. In this context, art and science find themselves at the crossroads of intelligence and sensitivities on an ambitious and unique artistic journey mixing installations, sculptures, street art and photographs. This exhibition is carried out under the patronage of the Australian Embassy in France, with the support of the State of Queensland and the participation of gallery Arts d’Australie • Stéphane Jacob (Paris) and Suzanne O’Connell Gallery (Australia), Posca, and the media partnerships of 20 minutes , France Bleu 107.1, France 4 and Sortir à Paris.
Artists mobilize to preserve the oceans The oceans represent 71% of the surface of the planet. They contain 96.5% of the water present on Earth and produce half the oxygen we breathe. Coral reefs, along with tropical forests, are the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet. They are home to exceptional biodiversity. Beyond their beauty, coral reefs help out humanity in many ways: coastal protection against erosion, a food resource, medical bioprospecting, as well as being of great importance to the cosmetic, food and tourism industries. The oceans’ sustainability is essential. At the initiative of the Aquarium de Paris, artists from both hemispheres have committed themselves to delivering a constructive and optimistic message on this crucial issue. The objective of this journey is to kindle the wonder of the public and inspire the desire to act to protect marine biodiversity.
«I am convinced that art and contemporary art in particular, is a formidable advocacy vehicle to create awareness about the environmental perils which threaten us. That is why every year we present the works of artists whose approach is in resonance with the issues we showcase. 2017 being the year of the Coral», emphasizes Alexis L Powilewicz, Director and General Manager
Three projects, three media servings, a single message: The protection of corals! Articulated around the preservation of coral, this artistic journey is organized around three exhibitions intertwined with each other. A unique concept that brings together in situ installations, sculptures, street art, photographs and videos around the same message “Soak in splendor to inspire protection». «Australia: Defending the Oceans»: Aboriginal sculptures in ghost net The exhibition unveils 28 monumental ghostnet sculptures, created to alert the public on an ecological and human drama. The artists of Pormpuraaw (Queensland, Australia) have created 28 sculptures out of ghost nets (fishing nets illegally abandoned by huge trawlers) in order to illustrate the battle of these people for the protection of their environment. These non-biodegradable ghost nets drift along the sea currents and keep trapping and killing a fragile fauna while damaging seabed and coral reefs. The artists have chosen to represent endangered species, such as the sawfish that has been trapped by these nets for decades and has virtually disappeared from their habitat. Australian art known up to now for its pictorial movement born in the nineteen seventies in the heart of the central desert finds a new means of identity expression through three-dimensional works related to the marine world. Today, more importantly, the environmental concerns, such as pollution of the oceans or global warming, which are shared by today’s generation of aboriginal artists’ are at the heart of their creation. «With this exhibition, we wish to introduce the new aboriginal artistic scene that places the environmental issues such as pollution of the oceans or global warming, at the heart of their creative process. Our aim is to help this community to develop their marine environment, as otherworldly as it is, at the same time fragile and threatened, by creating vibrant sculptures of colors from wastes that jeopardize marine fauna and the very culture of the inhabitants of these coastal areas.» Says Stéphane Jacob, senior curator and project manager and director of gallery Arts d’Australie • Stéphane Jacob (Paris). www.artsdaustralie.com
Urban artist Codex Urbanus takes over l’Aquarium de Paris to make his imaginary chimeras cohabit with the residents of aquariums. Street art enters the walls of the Aquarium to dialogue the unreal and the real. This marine bestiary is realized in situ on the walls, during the opening hours of the aquarium in the same way that the artist works in the street, with some poscas, paint markers, to create different families of marine animals, which will then have their binomial name in Latin. His chimeras are linked to real animals in the surrounding basins, in order to develop a kind of formal dialogue between the existent and fantasized, as well as an interaction with visitors. Take Action! A participatory work will also be proposed during this exhibition, where visitors and, in particular, the children will in their turn continue the marine bestiary of Codex, an opportunity to delve into the world of street art while engaging in a dialogue with visitors around these marine animals. «The abyss is full of creatures that are bestiary at least as surprising and fantastic as the ones that any human mind could imagine! And the meeting with the public comes out a bit from this oneiric research. Finally, in most cases, the visitor does not go to the aquarium as a naturalist, with a scientific mind, but rather as a child to discover different forms of life and dream of other worlds ... I think my bestiary will fit naturally in this process and allow to reach and touch the young ones and maybe a first brush with the Art» points out Codex Urbanus. Master classes with artists for a meeting with the public: Codex Urbanus will produce two masterclasses for families. Visitors can dive into the universe of the marine bestiary of the urban artist Codex Urbanus. A unique experience where young and old alike can pursue his chimeras and take possession of the walls of the Aquarium.