arts and cultures

The Wizards of the Earth: "So that Life knows that it is 'living'". »

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Unusual works in and by nature by the greatest artists of the contemporary scene are presented in a book of wonder, directed by Virginie Luc, published by Ulmer.
Virginie Luc presents us with a panorama of the most remarkable contemporary artists, who create unusual works of art. in and by Nature. They are "The Wizards of the Earth", women artists who are now advancing to the forefront of the world art scene and renewing the ancient dialogue between art and the environment and, more broadly, between nature and culture.
 
Aith them, the other source of life: Nature. Inspirer, support and material of their works, nature is omnipresent in this initiatory adventure.
From Eva Jospin's invasive forests to Cornelia Konrads' stone constellations; from Claire Morgan's plant traps to Rebecca Horn's animal and poetic mechanics; from Akiko Ikeuchi's infused rosebuds to Kate MccGwire's feathered chimeras..., these graceful and disturbing works are fairy tales as seductive as they are subtly threatening.
 
Something's brewing, but what? The desire to reconnect the bond that's about to be severed between man and nature? The resurgence of the visceral and the primitive, of a nature ready to regain the upper hand?
 
"There is only one book open to all eyes, it is the book of nature," Jean-Jacques Rousseau professed.
 
"Sometimes nature offers itself as the source of life, birth and knowledge. Sometimes it becomes duplicate, double, beautiful and cruel, voracious and indomitable. Support and material of the work, it is always the place of an initiatory test. "Nature can teach us who we humans are." says Rei Naïto, born in Hiroshima, whose radical work "celebrates and thanks the living forces of life".
Certainly nature has always been a source of inspiration for artists. As early as the 1960s and 1970s, the awareness of the fragility and degradation of the environment gave rise to Land Art and, for a long time in the shadows, to so-called "ecological" or "environmental" art, mainly carried by female visual artists, whose practice blends aesthetics, science and art.
Unlike Land Art artists who raise earth and sky to produce monumental installations, nature artists draw from elementary materials - stone, wood, plants, feathers, wind, light, water, ... - material for their poetic drifts, cultivate ephemeral intervention in resonance with places, share the taste for the infinite in the finished product, with humility and, often, with humor.
Moreover, Les Magiciennes are part of a transitional, fragile, precarious history and geography, which are ours. No doubt the entry of our era into the Anthropocene - this new geological era irreparably marked by human activities - and the threat to the environment and our place in nature, make it necessary to produce these silent, highly intuitive - almost primitive - inner works. Works that question our presence and our awareness of that presence. No doubt this context is also necessary for us to respond to the call. »
Virginia Luc
Rei Naïto - Matrix, 2010
 
It is a general, poetic and profuse enchantment that this work: installations, videos, photos, paintings, sculptures, ... A resurgence of the visceral and primitive, a fascination of fear and attraction to celebrate a Nature that we hope is still alive, to celebrate the desire to renew the bond that is about to be broken with mankind. 
 
"Sometimes it's an artist's vision that can bring us back to ourselves." says Rei Naïto who "celebrates and thanks the living and elemental forces of Nature", through light, wind and time. 
 
Cornelia Konrads " Passage, 2007 "
 
For Cornelia Konrads, the stones dance above the ground, the branches draw suspended porticoes, the books are written with brambles or drops of water ... as if to dislocate better in our eyes. Poetic drifts like spaces of transition and questioning, traps capable of raising possibilities, and by chance, of awakening the joy of another look.
 
Kate MccGwire - Quell (detail), 2011
 
"It is not nature we are destroying. (...) We are destroying our place in nature. We are sawing off the branch we are sitting on. »
 
Fujiko Nakaya - Performance cu choreographer Min Tanaka, "Locus Focus" in the fog sculpture "London Fog", 2017
 
The dark and threatening side of nature is offered to us by Hélène Schmitz. Through her photographic work, the Swedish artist questions the fascinating spaces where nature and culture meet and fight.
 
Human beings seek to dominate and control nature. But I believe that deep down we know that this is impossible and it is terrifying. »
Hélène Schmitz
 
Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger, "Stones and Spring", 2015
 
Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger wander through the imagination to create fairy-tale installations: chapels of dried flowers, banquets of crystalline plants, clouds of grass and plastic gadgets - attributes of our galloping modernity ...
Unusual and generous, these artists are the passengers of a world we miss.
 
 
 
Headline photo: Ellie Davies - "Smoke and Mirrors", 2010 ©Ellie Davies
120 illustrations - 160 pages
 

The author, Virginie Luc :
Virginie Luc is a journalist and essayist. She has interviewed the main actors of our time: the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Rauschenberg... She is the author and producer of major reports published in the international press, documentaries and radio programmes. She has published several essays, stories and short stories.
 

Artists in the book Rei Naïto, Cornelia Konrads, Helene Schmitz, Miya Ando, Ellie Davies, Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger, Fujiko Nakaya, Su-Mei Tse, Eva Jospin, Kate MccGwire, Claire Morgan, Min-Jeong Seo, Janet Laurence, Bridget Polk, Akiko Ikeuchi, Georgia Russell, Mathilde Roussel.
 
 

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