An Artistic Approach of the Space Adventure
After the exhibitions dedicated to the Anthropocene in 2014, followed recently by Suspended Animation: Bodies Lost in Digital Space, les Abattoirs continue their exploration of contemporary intersections between the sciences and the arts.
Following the long-term loan of its contemporary art collection to Les Abattoirs, Musée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse, the CNES Space Observatory announced in 2017 that the CNES arts-sciences laboratory would pursue its collaboration with the museum in Toulouse. The two institutions are joining forces to present, from 5 April to 26 August 2018, a new exhibition entitled Zero Gravity that will deal with the artistic exploration of the adventure of space and the figure of the artist as astronaut.
Well before humans were able to travel to space, artists and writers explored it with their imagination and creative powers. On several occasions, artists – from Robert Rauschenberg (with Moon Museum by Forrest Myers in 1969) to Paul Van Hoeydonck (with Fallen Astronaut in 1971) – have designed works that space journeys purportedly or reportedly left on the moon. While science fiction has often found life beyond Earth a hot topic, this exhibition project brings together works that are rooted in the reality of space travel. The artists who, each in their own way, help us rediscover the history, dreams, and disappointments of space exploration, rely on the testimonies of scientists, engineers, historians, or astronauts, in their attempts to tear themselves away from gravity. The utopian dreams of artistic creation and space exploration join forces on the first floor of Les Abattoirs, transformed into an immersive space. The artists rediscover history, archives, and dreams through it, but also reap disappointments, narrating the life of the astronauts or attempting to be one.
Assembling around thirty historical and contemporary works by international artists, Zero Gravity will bring works together for the first time that were produced for the NUIT BLANCHE at the CNES since 2014 and that are now on long-term loan at Les Abattoirs (Raphaël Dallaporta, Romain Sein, Simon Ripoll-Hurier, Simon Zagari, Cédric Hoareau & Vincent Odon, Loïc Pantaly, Olivier Perriquet, Bruno Petremann, Kristina Solomoukha & Paolo Codeluppi, Erwan Venn, Antoine Belot, Sylvie Bonnot, and Johan Decaix), along with artists’ creations accompanied by the CNES Space Observatory (Bertrand Dezoteux, Marvin Gaye Chetwind, etc.). The visitor will notably discover the first artwork devised by artist Eduardo Kac, which was only able to be created in zero gravity space through the complicity of spaceman Thomas Pesquet: Télescope intérieur [Inner Telescope].
The CNES Space Observatory has entrusted its contemporary art collection to Les Abattoirs, Musée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse.
Exploring the many ways in which space influences our societies and as part of its commitment in support of artistic creation, the Space Observatory, the arts-sciences laboratory of the CNES, has formed a collection of contemporary art comprising artworks inspired by human history relating to space exploration. Convinced by this original and singular approach, Les Abattoirs, Musée – Frac Occitanie Toulouse will conserve this collection on long-term loan.
This collection of contemporary art comprises works that have been created annually since 2014 for exhibitions organised by the Space Observatory, the arts-sciences laboratory of the CNES, within the framework of the Nuit Blanche event. These creations take many different forms (including sculptures, paintings, photographs, graphic or sound works, videos, and installations) and were commissioned via a public call for offers as part of a targeted approach at the CNES Space Observatory.
Based on little-known archives regarding space travel (documentary works, sound or audiovisual elements, photographic and technical archives) with a theme that is specific to each exhibition, the artists selected and supported by the Space Observatory create artworks that aim to spark and sustain the collective imagination.
For Gérard Azoulay, director of the CNES Space Observatory, “this decision to contribute to the enhancement of the collection of Les Abattoirs is emblematic of our public action in the field of the arts and sciences and strengthens our firm foothold in Toulouse, not far from where the space ventures of the future find their source.”
Through this collaboration, works by Raphaël Dallaporta, Romain Sein, Simon Ripoll-Hurier, Simon Zagari, Cédric Hoareau & Vincent Odon, Loïc Pantaly, Olivier Perriquet, Bruno Petremann, Kristina Solomoukha & Paolo Codeluppi, and Erwan Venn, produced for the previous editions of Nuit Blanche at the CNES, can now be integrated into future exhibitions at Les Abattoirs, Musée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse. In 2017, the works of Antoine Belot, Sylvie Bonnot, and Johan Decaix that were presented on 7 October as part of the TRANSITION exhibition at the headquarters of the CNES in Paris will now join the Collection. This collection aims to expand as the CNES Space Observatory produces new artworks for various occasions.
The conservation and showcasing of the CNES Space Observatory’s Contemporary Art Collection fall within a partnership agreement with Les Abattoirs, Musée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse. The term of the loan of the artworks conserved by the public museum of Toulouse is set for a renewable period of five years.
Since its opening in June 2000, Les Abattoirs have focused on promoting and presenting modern and contemporary art through temporary exhibitions. As Annabelle Ténèze the director of Les Abattoirs, Musée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse attests: “Artists travelled fictitiously into space even before this was technically possible. Today, the conquest of space has a history and a future, which contemporary art has been endlessly exploring. For several years now, Les Abattoirs has examined the impact of the sciences on our lives through art, with exhibition projects relating to the Anthropocene or more recently Suspended Animation: Bodies Lost in Digital Space. Thanks to this partnership with the CNES Space Observatory that will give rise to an initial exhibition in April 2018, expanded to include other artists, Les Abattoirs are delighted to pursue this exploration of the connections between two concrete utopias: artistic creation and scientific research.”
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