Jardin d’Hiver #2
Is there an esthetic or poetics of change? Can art capture a reality that is constantly changing? Is it to be a witness to or rather a vector of change? How does one practice art in a here and now that is characterized by instability and the absence of certainties? These questions lie at the heart of Jardin d’Hiver #2. Poems of Change.
The exhibition borrows its title from a sound piece by the American composer and electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros. Written thirty years ago, this poem still rings out like a call for change, so necessary in light of the injustices and ills burdening our world. It was the starting point for an invitation extended to eleven artists or artist duos, either from the Canton of Vaud or now living here, to create a new work of art that freely takes shape around such notions as change, transformation, transition, and evolution. The resulting artworks are displayed here alongside preexisting pieces by these same artists, so as to multiply points of view and interpretative keys to the show and, thus, to echo the plurality and diversity of an art scene that is itself going through great change.
Artmaking has no small role to play, if not in transforming the world, then at least in our understanding of it. The works featured in Poems of Change are heterogeneous in terms of the techniques they employ and the themes they tackle. Yet they do have this in common, they reveal the unprecedented sensibility, creativity and involvement with which this generation of artists questions the complexity and chaos of our age. All of the featured artworks speak of an experience of the world that is fundamentally subjective and personal, occasionally painful or divisive, but they do so with imagination and hope through the captivating language of art.
The question of change permeates the exhibition but it is also inseparable from the very idea of art. The world changes and art with it. It is what contributes to the vitality of an art scene like the one on display here. An art scene is like a living composite organism. It is first and foremost a space of interaction and collaboration. In Poems of Change, you will meet artists who know each other, work side by side, support each other, and share a common cultural space. Jardin d’Hiver is, ultimately, a chance to celebrate the collective, cooperative and inclusive character of the local art scene. For it is together, and only together, that these artists take part not only in its development but also its transformation.
Galleries 2 and 3
Alfredo Aceto’s approach to art can be described as a formal and partly biographical exploration of the connections between reality and imagination. That exploration draws on his interest in the way the creative gesture makes it possible to transform stories. In his own output, the produced work of art is never the pictorial or sculptural synthesis of a narrative but rather the virtuoso result of a gradual digression that gives rise to a form both independent and ambiguous. To create Italie CGN, the transalpine artist began with his urge, going back to his childhood, to personify objects, to develop a choreographed piece filmed in the exhibition venue in which he embodies a ship sailing for the Lake Geneva General Navigation Company (CGN). Inspired by the company’s promotional films, the shots and editing of Alfredo Aceto’s piece borrow the codes that insist on the piston engines and paddle wheels that are emblematic of the lake cruise line’s fleet, while the sound created by the artist’s mouth imitates the wash churned up by the passing ship. Untitled (Punctuation) is a bronze sculpture that was molded from an automobile body part. Hung on the wall in keeping with what would appear to be functional rather than formal reasons, the piece seems to cry out to be activated and transform the exhibition space.
cORPORATE Soraya Lutangu Bonaventure & Tiran Willemse
cORPORATE is a research office founded by the Swiss-Congolese composer and performer Soraya Lutangu Bonaventure and the South African choreographer Tiran Willemse. Shot in Kampala, Uganda, Era is a contemplative film installation on change and an invitation to meditate on the perception of time. The work joins in a nonlinear fashion sequences with a spare narrative content that are articulated around four cardinal emotions – love, fear, pain, and hope – contained in a black box. The effect of time distortion is heightened in the piece through a constant recombining of the images and their sound ambiance. Coproduced with Arsenic for the show, Era is both a stand-alone work of art and a constituent element in a performance that is currently under development – cORPORATE will share a preview of that work in progress at the conclusion of Jardin d’Hiver #2 on 21 May 2023.
Galleries 1 and 2
The practice of the Franco-Caribbean artist Lucas Erin could be likened to a deconstruction of the norms governing our behaviors and social ties, one carried out under the microscope of postcolonial studies, of Negritude and Créolité. The sculptures from his new series mové tan (Bad Weather in Creole) are made up of medals designed and struck by the artist, then suspended from coat stands like ripe fruit hanging on a tree. They are the first pieces from a research the artist is currently pursuing whose starting point is the natural disaster in 2017 when Hurricane Maria destroyed a large part of the West Indies. The medals, symbolizing distinction and success, are here turned away from their usual function, to contrast the notion of individual heroism with that of collective resilience. Hochets (Rattles) is a series of sculptures made up of punching bags which sport found bells repurposed by the artist. These pieces are suspended in the broad sense of that verb, both waiting to be set in motion and leaving it up to the public to orchestrate acoustically and physically the force of the suggested interaction. Close observers will notice a detail that should defuse the latent violence that viewing these sculptures might instinctively inspire in them.
Foyer and gallery 1
In her practice, Giulia Essyad questions the production and consumption of images, the commodification of bodies in digital and public space, and the alienating effects of this visual culture. Provocative at times, her works regularly use her own body and are often produced with the help of industrial materials and processes. They employ a visual idiom that is inspired in particular by science fiction and heroic fantasy, but also advertising and social networks, to develop a resolutely queer, feminist and body-positive content that knows no taboo. Already visible outside the museum, Monument welcomes visitors before they even enter the exhibition galleries, the piece looking like an old statue that vegetation and moss are well on the way to covering. Yet everything we see is plastic, from the plants to the printed PVC, and if this sculpture is indeed a monument, it cynically recalls the by-products of our consumerist culture. The backlit lightboxes, on the other hand, are from a new series titled Windows that the artist produced during a residency in Bangalore. They are centered on representing the physical symptoms of difficult emotions through images that evoke the memory of the body, self-destructive impulses, and dissociative disorders.
Cee Füllemann & Romy Colombe. K
Galleries 2 and 3
The joint installation seen here, a new piece by Cee Füllemann and Romy Colombe. K, is a collaboration between two artists of two different generations and backgrounds brought together by the Jardin d’Hiver #2 show. The on-site artwork is a reflection on the potential for building worlds that are freed of norms and genders. Involving both text and elements of sculpture, the work falls simultaneously into the scope of Cee Füllemann’s Emotional Landscapes – a polymorphic and participatory project that centers on the creation of queer spaces of intimacy and relationality – and Romy Colombe. K’s Fire Poems, a series of short-lived poetic pieces written with a lighter. The form of the objects in the installation and the plasticity of their materials conjure up the fluidity and inconstancy of identities. Here the flame motif runs between the ceramic «volcanos», the neon butterfly, and the incendiary words written on the museum walls like a call for change and an invitation to gather allies for the struggles ahead, to be caring, to set fires. And like a reflection on change and continuity inscribed in the materiality of the works themselves, Cee Füllemann’s interactive sculpture The Peeks and the Kiss, which was created for the artist’s show at MCBA ten years ago, stands in dialogue with this new piece.
Léa Katharina Meier
The visual artist and performer Léa Katharina Meier is interested in the figure of the clown as a personification of the grotesque. Meier taps into this archetype as a strategy to upend established social values and norms. Behind their often infantile or playful look, the artist’s works deal with sensitive subjects through an esthetics that is tinged with ambiguity. In this zany and colorful world, the clown serves as a partner and accomplice of the artist in deconstructing feelings of ridiculousness, disgust, and rejection, while also getting across a message about emancipation with queer and feminist overtones. The installation Léa Katharina Meier has created for Jardin d’Hiver #2 resembles an outsized puppet theater at the center of which reigns Lx Grandex-Aspirateureusex-Des-Sentiments (TheGreat-Vacuumulator- Of-Feelings), the main character in a show which visitors are invited to take part in by embodying the emotions imprinted in the set. As an allegory of shame, this puppet assumes the cathartic role of converting troubles and trepidations into wonderful and unorthodox stories. Confronting normative discourse in its various forms, Léa Katharina Meier sees in art and fiction the power to imagine liberating narratives. It is also what she offers visitors in Magique Abjection Dream, her dreamlike and disturbing performance, which she will repeat on 30 March at MCBA.
Galleries 2 and 3
Nastasia Meyrat’s composite practice is peopled with characters who fill a metaphorical function in sensitive politically committed content that claims utopia as an insurrectional approach. For Jardin d’Hiver #2, the artist has created a textile sculpture depicting a gigantic slug. At regular intervals, a voice coming from the slug’s head questions visitors in English, «Are you working too much?» The philosopher slug then launches into a tirade that is as existential as it is rambling on the meaning of productivity, (self-)exploitation, and competition in an overcommodified and star-hungry artworld. The slug, a recurring motif in the artist’s work, symbolizes the parasite, the individual who is both on the fringe and intrusive, but it also represents vulnerability. The figure lets Nastasia Meyrat call into question hierarchies and stereotypes cataloguing people and compartmentalizing societies. Here it’s the competition that is particular to the world of contemporary art that Nastasia Meyrat is addressing and not without a touch of irony. But it’s also, by extension, alienation, social determinism, and the resulting exclusion of neoliberal meritocracy that she is criticizing between the lines – a subject she continues to explore in her new series of paintings that is likewise on view in the present show.
Galleries 1 and 2
Charly Mirambeau’s work is characterized by an introspective dimension in a world that is saturated with images and discourse. His art pieces spring from an approach that is semiotic in nature and through which he reinterprets material traces that are anecdotic as well as symptomatic of the recent evolution of our contemporary culture. His output, delicate and suffused with melancholy, reveals the beauty in the insignificant; if we look closely, it also points up the tangible, though often invisible, manifestations of our social and cultural conditioning. The installation La plage rose (The Pink Beach) is the life-size recreation of the entrance to a building that is both banal and unique in Lausanne. This porch entry goes unnoticed by many who pass by, but for others it represents the threshold of a vital space of freedom and sexual emancipation. By striving to meticulously recreate this environment and its features using textiles and decorative elements, Charly Mirambeau plumbs the visible side of this venue for discreet confidential encounters and becomes an emissary of its history. System No. 7 is a diptych the artist created from found fabric samples. The piece echoes, in its disguised way, the fashion industry, where Charly Mirambeau initially trained before turning to artmaking.
Galleries 1 and 3
Gina Proenza is an inveterate gleaner, of stories – ancestral legends, historical facts, tales from oral traditions – and objects that she picks up in antique shops and flea markets, accumulates, assembles, and reuses. She is an artist whose approach is as loose and unrestrained as it is artful and ingenious. She combines and reinterprets her finds in artworks that touch on universal themes like language, speech, exchange, and transmission. Toi et ta bande (You and Your Gang) reproduces with straw the words that begin the sentence handed down in a strange and nevertheless actual trial that was held in medieval Lausanne. At the end of the judicial hearing the larvae of the maybugs found guilty of crop destruction were ordered to cease and desist from their devastation under penalty of incurring God’s curse. The sculpture series L’ami naturel (The Natural Friend) comprises traditional masks from the artist’s native Colombia depicting jaguars from whose maws fall an exaggeratedly long «tongue» that ends in a slowly rotating spoon. Gina Proenza’s works summon a fanciful multicultural imagination that questions the view, from here, of elsewhere and the custodians of our identities and memories.
Galleries 1 and 2
In her work, Manon Wertenbroek focuses on the links between the body and the psyche, especially the skin as a contact zone between the self and the outside world. She explores the duality of skin as an ele- ment that is both singularizing and relational, protective and permeable. This fleshy envelope is the organ that contains and delimits our physical body, but it is also through the skin that we are perceived and enter into contact with others and with what surrounds us. Although they indeed partake of the flesh, Manon Wertenbroek’s works are often disembodied. They suggest bodies but without assuming their volume and shape. The diptych Dispars and Discorps displayed here is part of a series of pieces created using leather that is stretched and folded over a frame and heightened with staples and metal piercings, conjuring up both windows and metaphorically the skin’s function as an interface between inside and out. The installation titled Conatus is made up of a circuit of lights covered with flesh-colored translucent latex membranes that recall some biotechnological network straight out of a sci-fi film. Existing somewhere between an organism and a machine, this strange artwork might bring to mind interconnected artificial wombs from which a potential life is rising to be born.
Galleries 1 and 3
Shirin Yousefi produces works of art that are both radical and intangible. Often comprising short-lived or volatile elements that challenge the physical or temporal limits of the venue where it is being displayed, the Iranian-born artist’s work only exists through its multisensory perception and its taking viewers to task. The question of geopolitics underlies the whole of Shirin Yousefi’s body of work in a politically committed perspective with respect to social struggles and collective resistance. Exhale is an on-site installation that transforms one of the museum’s display walls into a giant wind machine. While the title points to corporality, it is an immaterial work of art all the same, which visitors perceive first and foremost via physical sensation. The piece thus forces us to confront our own presence and action in a venue that has become a living organism. Assets is an evolving work of art that is directed towards the outside of the museum. It is conceived as an instantaneous and poignant echo of the revolt against the Iranian regime using historic and current witness accounts. Making use of the building’s windows, Shirin Yousefi turns the museum into a vitrine where the struggle is on display.