If you’re looking for a pretty walk in an enchanted forest, go to Fondation Cartier and immerse yourself in the Fabrice Hyber exhibition “The Valley” which is set in different classrooms with sixty works of which twenty are painted for the show. In the 1990’s, the artist started planting a forest with 300 000 tree seeds in Vendée, next to his parents’ sheep farm. He has made a work of art of the landscape. This became a refuge, a place of learning and experimentation with “a natural barrier with the surrounding industrial agricultural land” as he describes it. … I sow trees just as I sow signs and images. They are there, I sow seeds of thought that are visible, they develop and grow. I am no longer in control.”
His last exhibition at Fondation Cartier three years ago, was devoted to Trees, a show which traveled to Shanghai. And again, there are many trees with their visible roots this time, in the group of (mostly) personal paintings with additional works lent by Centre Pompidou, Nathalie Obadia and private collectors in France and Switzerland. Each work uses writing next to the pictorial elements and the decor of classrooms, open to everyone, is here to remind us that everything in life starts in school where transmission is made possible.
The artist’s purpose is to teach as well as to show, and little videos are accessible throughout, where he recounts the mental journey that preceded the creation of his works. “I have always started by drawing and writing to understand, to find the origins… like a research lab or a school”. “Works are like trees : we think they are dead, then they live once again… after lighting or fire, others are reborn”. A documentary film called “A main levée” (With raised hand) will be made about students and teachers exploring new lands of learning with Fabrice Hyber.
What I love about this show is that you can interpret all images the way you like. Hyber gives you a forest in which you can develop your thoughts or existential worries. Most of the canvases are painted with oil and charcoal and are very colorful with one exception for “Confort Moderne”, (Modern Comfort) which is in black and white… with a tiny red sign.
Do go and visit the show, it is very rejuvenating!
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