Gaïa, what are you becoming? | Maison Guerlain | 68 avenue des Champs Élysées, Paris

The exhibition ‘Gaïa, what are you becoming?’ is the 13th exhibition supported by Guerlain and forms part of the FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair 2019. The presentation highlights the precarious state of our natural world.

“Much more than just a fleeting fad, the need to care for the environment and protect the planet is something that we’re all (finally) starting to grasp. In the field of visual arts, interactions between the artist and the natural world are the very basis of the practice of representation.

In more recent times, especially with the Land Art movement in the 1960s, artists began to interact with and in the landscape itself, sometimes bringing temporary changes, sometimes permanent ones.
Nonetheless, the approach developed by these artists was above all conceptual in nature – although Land Art had a discernible physical impact upon the environment, there was little public discussion around green issues at this time. A more militant, politically active environmental movement emerged later on, in the 1970s.

Ever since, we have witnessed a transition from contemporary art that is “aware” of the environment to art that focusses on very real issues like global warming, waste reduction, recycling, biodiversity and more.

Often this takes place when the worlds of the arts and environmental science come together, with visual artists adding their voices to the chorus calling for an urgent reconsideration of how we live our lives from day-today, becoming in the process ‘visual ambassadors’ to not just individuals but also institutions and policymakers.” Caroline Messensee

White’s piece ‘Black Sun’, explores the transformation of materials under a new light: alchemy. Alchemy is both a philosophy and an ancient practice aiming at changing base metal into gold.
One of the pieces exhibited exemplifies the connection between Douglas White’s interest in the found materials and his new work about alchemy. It is an exploded tyre with tree roots growing out of it, forming the shape of a black sun. For alchemists, the black sun was an symbol of transformation and rebirth.

  • 18 October - 8 November 2019
  • Douglas White |Allora & Calzadilla | Andy Goldsworthly | Eva Jospin | Clay Ketter | Lucy & Jorge Orta | Ibrahim Mahama | Vik Muniz | Li Xin | Julian Charrière | Ali Cherri | Russell Crotty | Mark Dion | Andy Goldsworthy | Max Hooper Schneider | Eva Jospin | Neil Lang | Kate MccGwire | Fabrice Monteiro | Otobong Nkanga | Sigismond de Vajay
  • Guerlain House, 68 avenue des Champs Élysées, Paris