Past: February 7 → May 11, 2014
Since time immemorial, artists have experimented with visionary experience by diving into the Astral depths. Nevertheless, this distinctive act of creation is rarely tackled. Astralis, the 23rd exhibition at Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, takes visitors on a journey into this strange reality by exploring unfathomable and inaccessible worlds. They are the great purveyors of visions.
The “Astral”, another term for the “Invisible”, conjures up celestial, elusive, and otherworldly themes. It touches on both a journey within ourselves, and the mind’s journey outside of the body. These mysterious dimensions have led to some troubling scientific research and are finding a remarkable resurgence in artists’ works. Astralis is devoted to exploring these questions, visions, and artistic powers by turning a contemporary art exhibition into a kind of initiatory journey designed by a dozen international artists who have each created their own landscape and antechamber, acting as gateways to other realms.
The journey offered by the exhibition begins with Myriam Mechita’s vanitas waterfall created for the window of rue de Bassano. Next, a congress of six angels by David Altmejd guides us toward Børre Sæthre’s tunnel of light, which leads to a succession of parallel worlds: those of Chloé Piene’s visions, in which Alpha and Omega appear reversed; then that of Jean-Luc Favero, an artist who reincarnates a stag as a shimmering creature, before leading onto Charley Case’s Cosmic Lodge, a true gateway to the world of ancestors and spirits.
We are then offered a strange landscape of visionary experiences: those of Vidya Gastaldon take the form of a levitating cradle combined with a number of unusual paintings, while Basserode’s light sculpture Via Lactea diffuses a mist which enshrouds Siobhàn Hapaska’s selenite angels and her machine to reincarnate souls as trees.
Damien Deroubaix’s space features a baroque-inspired celestial painted ceiling, and is inhabited by EA, the Akkadian God of the depths. It echoes the double-decapitated ceramic hellhound of the antechamber of Myriam Mechita’s Intentional Fires, a space which also features luminescent trees and their visionary constellations.
Before moving into Rina Banerjee’s final act of this cosmic ballet with its hybrid creatures, the visitor must pass by Art Orienté Objet’s (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin) prophylactic embroideries, before being immersed in their final vision for the exhibition, comprising a four-poster bed, a ladder of light, and strange hands that seem to reach out to us from the beyond.
Pascal Pique, curator for Musée de l’Invisible2.
1 Astralis marks the launch of Musée de l’Invisible, following a series of initial developments which begun at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, June 2013.
2 Musée de l’Invisible is a new creative and experimental research space dedicated to exploring the relationship between art and the many forms of the invisible: from astrophysics to cognitive science and alternative knowledge, not to mention unexplained phenomena linked to a variety of visionary or metaphysical dimensions.