Plants, as subjects of observation, understanding and even transformation, have always inspired artists. Sources of pleasure, decoration, full of symbols, plants never cease to hide their mysteries. Depending on time periods and territories, they convey stories, legends, and numerous uses. Plants are also witnesses of society's evolution, signs of resistance. They spread the yearning to return to an Earthly paradise, a dream space where nature is source of energy and amazement.
Utopia Botanica is an invitation to explore plant life, to open all the universes linked with it. The artworks forge ties between human, plant and animal worlds. They question the need of a contact with nature, the utopia of recreating our own paradise, of being able to travel at home.
From her different trips, Emilie Bazus has developed a figurative and tight framed painting , from figuration to abstraction, a mysterious atmosphere. She introduces a call for exotism, the discovery of a primeval forest, the desire to access to a 'still wild' nature.
Karine Bonneval, whose artworks are currently exhibited at Berlin's botanical museum, examines the ways men appropriate the living. Two photographs make us dream of men turning into plants. They reveal the plant as a vehicle of memory and guide the visitors towards the exhibition. Then, nature comes in like strange plants from faraway lands. Her sculptures remind us of living-room terrariums sheltering plants. They entice us with their baroque and exotic looks and make us travel throughout the ages.
Zoé Rumeau uses all sorts of matters for their tangible aspect. Her artworks take from myths and recall chimeras, an oniric universe including a magnificent dragon which is currently on display in the exhibition 'The Beautiful, the Beauty and the Beast' at Château du Rivau. Her herbarium features plants gifted with beneficence and powers, evoking tales passed down from generation to generation.
Two cactus sculptures summon images from fairy tales, worlds where nature is metamorphosing. These plants invite us to touch them, this sensation brings us to restore a sensitive link between men and nature. The artists work as herborists, botanists, gatherers, they repair and unveil plants'structures, their states at different stages of seasons.
Participating this year in the Salon de Montrouge, Julia Gault takes an interest in unstable situations in the existing landscape, in the moments where everything can turn. Her series 'Attempt to confront an A4 sheet of paper to a natural shaped leaf' shows a certain contradiction, an opposition and a combination of two interactions with the plant. These leaves unveil the internal structure of the plant; they suggest her force and her frailty.
To Pauline Bazignan, plants stand for time, they refer to universe and cosmos. With a smooth pictorial move, she gives rise to concentric lines, to the growth of an emotion, of a strength. Her paintings evoke plants' frailty and beyond, carry us to infinity. Her work has been presented at Villa Datris in 2017 and at the exhibition space « Eglise des trinitaires » in Metz in 2018.
François Génot focuses his attention on everyday wild nature, on the « almost nothings » which fill our anthropized spaces. Movements, collection, a special attention to matters, to forms and to natural phenomena nourish his artistic practice. His residencies at the Centre d’art et du paysage in Vassivière-en-Limousin and at the Domaine d'Abbadia, both protected natural sites, enabled him to experiment the relations between art and environment. His paintings reveal forms, an instant, a movement. Natural materials are graphical signs, traces of a natural phenomenon, of a season.
Plant is here an object of thought, of daydream and of inspiration to travel. The artworks shed light on the interest of men in plants, in admiring and shaping them. This exhibition thus offers a journey through different countries with their own botanical wealths.