Tuesday, 27 September 2011

'Dystopia' - Laine's Warehouse, Bordeaux, France

Travelling through France in summer was as usual a feast for the eyes. Starting with a walk  around the walled city of St.Malo, thunderous storms over the bay of La Rochelle and then on to Bordeaux, famous for wine and food.
It was there I discovered the 'Dystopia' exhibition  at Laine's Warehouse, a vast three floor building.

Dystopia is an exhibition conceived at the same time as the author and art critic Mark Von Schlegell wrote the catalogue - novel New Dystopia.The author worked closely with the exhibition curator Alexis Vaillant on the choice of works and venues set up and design.

The Greek etymology of the word 'dystopia' can mean "a place with negative connotations".
Think Alduous Huxleys 'Brave New World' 1931 or George Orwell's, '1984' written in 1949. Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit', 1953 or Andrew Stanton's Wall-e, written in 2008. These are all dystopian novels.

I have selected a work by artist Michael Stevenson.  'Landscape With The Beginning of Civilization, 2010'

Ten aquaria and terraria each containing the remains of their previous tenants go to make this installation. Arranged in ascending order of size, these aquaria retrace the shared biological evolution of their former residents.
In setting up a parallel between the hermit crab and man,who, for their development,both require access to an ever larger habitat, the artist introduces the vacancy chain notion.

This theory of vacancy is based on the vulnerability of the human being in the face of the permanence of his environment.
This work felt so relevant, particularly now during these difficult financial times. As I listened to Radio 4 this week and heard that there is no country in the world concerned with the Climate Crisis since the Credit Crisis eventuated.
The feeling of desolation within these installations was to me, a stark reminder of what could be a global dystopia.

Other works exhibited in Dystopia :

Sabastian Hammwohner

Peter Coffin

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