At the Bourse de Commerce in Paris Avant l’Orage inaugurated: an exhibition that invites, through the choice of works on display, a path of reflection on the period of apparent calm that comes “before the storm” of climate change that is condemning the planet. The works of nineteen artists, all from the Pinault Collection, will occupy the halls until September 11, interpreting in an extremely personal way the threat of self-destruction looming over the human being and the planet, through artistic productions of different nature.
Within this exhibition, an artist who in a particular way has been able to express the toxicity of the human being, without including it in his representation, is Hicham Berrada (Morocco, 1986). Through Présage (2018), a title evocative in itself, he proposes the viewer to immerse himself in the video shooting of a performative work in which he wants to create a microcosm in which are articulated continuous metamorphoses put in place by natural and artificial elements, giving the viewer the impression of being immersed in an aquarium out of human time, of which it is impossible to grasp all the elements. The work had already been presented in 2019, paired with the musician Laurent Durupt, in the form of a real performance at the Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi in Venice, when Berrada, after being at the artist’s residence of the Pinault Collection in Lens, was then proposed in the collective exhibition Luogo e Segni at Punta della Dogana. The reproduction of these aquatic landscapes takes place through the interaction, animated by an invisible director, between mineral elements, vegetables, spores and artificial compounds of different colors and shapes, immersed in an aquarium that, at the Bourse de Commerce, is projected on a several meters long curved wall, and in total darkness.
The immersion is simulated by the video but also made concrete by the setting: while remaining seated, enchanted by this changing and hypnotic show completely losing the sense of time and space. It is impossible to enjoy a simultaneously complete vision of the work: it is necessary to linger over and over in the room to be able to watch every single scene put in place by the “actors” inside the aquarium. This current type of landscape painting – more an illusionistic frame of nature than a reproduction of a real landscape – is made possible by the activation of the physical and chemical properties of the elements used, immersed in a vision outside the human scale.
In the immensity of the scene of unnatural dimensions, the artist experiences the unprecedented presence of the energies and forces that emanate from matter, poetically giving substance to colored elements of shapes vaguely traceable to natural ones. They become, thanks to the actions induced by the “régisseur d’énergies” Berrada, a scientific metaphor of toxicity and poisonous chemical consequences activated by the human being that are imposing on the planet.
The work of art, in this case, is exactly what communicates its title: the omen of what it could be and which, most likely, will be.
8/02/2023 – 11/09/2023
Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection
Passionate about curatorial practice and museology, she has always been interested in the history of art from the modern to the contemporary era. After an international university education in art history and conservation of historical-artistic heritage, she has dedicated herself to cultural influences and exchanges between Italy and France.