They walk in the vastness of the mountains, record nature in sculpture, dive into the oceans, reside with refugee populations. They are still algorithm draftsmen, ethnological photographers, painters of desolation or plastic artists of fragility. The 2017 vintage of the Talents Contemporains competition is made up of eight winners, exhibited from 9 February to 21 April 2019: Edouard Decam, Cristina Escobar, Sara Ferrer, Claire Malrieux, Camille Michel, Maël Nozahic, Benjamin Rossi and the Sandra & Ricardo collective.
Initiated in 2011 as part of a philanthropic approach, the Talents Contemporains competition (1) supports contemporary creation and artists from all geographical, generational and practice backgrounds.
On the theme of water, considered in many ways, the artists explore issues that can be environmental, societal, plastic, philosophical, anthropological and an infinite number of subjects. Little by little an original collection has emerged, bringing together video, perennial installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, digital art. It presents embarked sheep, sculpted fish, crystal tears, oceans of words... The works travel from Wattwiller to Lisbon via Épinal, Bordeaux or Amsterdam, deploying various points of view and a representation of today's world.
Six to eight laureates are awarded each year.
If artists can accompany us on infinite journeys, invite introspection or denunciation, they are often preoccupied, and the questioning of the notion of trace could well be the link between each of the winners of the 7th edition.
Tireless surveyor in the extremities of the Pyrenees, Edouard Decam records the architecture that man leaves behind, including dams with fascinating structures. Cristina Escobar tells the story of men and women refugees in Italy, they trace their journey on a map of the Mediterranean. It materializes the path of each one with 40 marble objects, their "trophies". By means of a minimalist installation, Sara Ferrerdenounces the consequences of mass fishing and over-consumption. The excesses caused by modernity and industrialisation also question Camille Michel. His photographs document the metamorphosis of Greenland and the daily life of the people of Uummannaq in the northwestern part of the territory. With Waterscape generative work, Claire Malrieuxdelves into the notion of anthropocene, the impact of man on our ecosystem. Benjamin Rossi goes back even further in the history of mankind, its field of study is the present Fontainebleau forest formerly occupied by the Stampian Sea. The artist takes an imprint of it from which the blown glass negative evokes this period. The collective Sandra & Ricardo Inspired by the passage of water through the Coa Valley in Portugal, famous for its Paleolithic rock carvings, creates a basin of thousands of bags filled with water, a metaphor for the birth of civilization. The wolf reflected in a pond at Maël Nozahic is the only living remnant of a frozen world.
Each of the exhibited works bears the ambivalent trace of man, and his action on our environment, in a form of lyrical despair. The selection of artists reflects a more global questioning of the omnipresent ecological disasters.
Sara Ferrer, Fishing the Soul, 2016. Fishing rod, fishing line, wooden frame and lycra fabric, 400 x 300 x 150 cm.
The Foundation's Contemporary Art Centre
Located at the foot of the Vosges mountains, in the village of Wattwiller in Alsace, in the heart of an exceptional landscape, the François Schneider Foundation's contemporary art centre offers an annual cultural programme and exhibitions devoted to the theme of water. Inaugurated in 2013 in a former bottling workshop, enlarged and transformed, the site offers a space of 4,500 m². Designed around light and transparency, the building includes three exhibition halls with a surface area of 1,200 m².
An adjoining sculpture garden offers an artistic walk amidst permanent works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The water cascades down from the monumental Star Fountain chick of Niki de Saint-Phalle, stream of the Water spinning tops by Ilana Isehayek before marrying the Vosges crests evoked by Sylvie de Meurville's installation and sparkling along Pol Bury's steel spheres. In the large basin From Here to There by Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, the water reflects the movement of the clouds before being sent across the Pacific through an imaginary tunnel. A bookshop and a restaurant, offering a menu made with local products mainly from organic and fair trade circuits, complete the visitor's route.
Exhibition from February 9 to April 21, 2019 at the contemporary art center of the François Schneider I Wattwiller Foundation - 27 rue de la Première Armée - 68700 Wattwiller
(1) The François Schneider Foundation aims to discover, accompany and reveal new talents to the general public and to support contemporary creation on the theme of water. Through the "Contemporary Talents" competition created in 2011, François Schneider wishes to support these creators by acquiring their works and showcasing them in the Foundation's art centre via an exhibition and the publication of a catalogue. After the selection of around forty finalists by four Expert Committees, an international grand jury, composed of recognised personalities, will choose a maximum of eight winners. The annual prize money is 300,000 euros. The eight winners each receive 20,000 euros for the acquisition of their work. A sum of 160,000 euros is devoted to the realisation of the works presented in the form of projects as production aid. The Foundation then promotes these artists through loans of works, travelling exhibitions, participation in festivals and by regularly broadcasting the news of each one on its social networks.
The International Grand Jury of the 7th edition was composed of : Jean-Noël Jeanneney - President of the Jury; Daniel Lelong - Galerie Lelong (Paris & New York); Rosa Maria Malet - Director of the Joan Miró Foundation (Barcelona); Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Visual artist, draftsman, photographer; Fabrizio Plessi - Artist representing Italy at the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986; Roland Wetzel - Director of the Museum Tinguely (Basel, Switzerland).