48, avenue Sergent Maginot
Geologia is part of a series of exhibitions that run along the 40mcube programming. Together with Archeologia, which took place in 2013, and Animalia, which will open in 2022, these exhibitions explore documented, imaginary or fantasized relationships that artists have with history, geography and living things.
Geologia brings together works by Guillaume Gouerou and Julien Loustau. Conducting scientific research for artistic purposes, Guillaume Gouerou developed a machine for creating stone. Here, the artist produces by a process of artificial heating –the combination of several microwave ovens– vitreous amalgams composed of natural minerals that he studies with the technological means of research, and from which he extracts images. The final stages of this process are the cutting of these stones and their exploitation as jewellery. All the parts of this chain are gathered in the exhibition: the machine, that looks like a science-fiction object, the stones that resemble their natural peers, the images of details of these stones captured with different microscopes, and the jewels on which the stones are set, which seem to be charged with a mysterious energy.
This installation can be discovered in the light of the projection of Julien Loustau ’s film Sub. Stretching out time, it brings us into the depths of the earth with the supposed exploration of Lake Vostok, a vast area of water trapped under the ice of Antarctica and isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years. The importance of this site is such that its study makes it possible to consider other life in space, on planets that would reproduce the same conditions of existence. Lake Vostok is therefore the object of scientific research and greed that deny the ecological dangers of its contact with the earth’s surface. Julien Loustau connects this story to that of the Valley of the Three Gorges in China, which is also linked to water control. The largest hydraulic dam in the world was erected there to provide electricity at the detriment of a territory, leading to the flooding of a thousand towns, villages and archaeological sites, and pro- voking the relocation of millions of inhabitants, not to mention the disappearance of an entire ecological system. Made in 2006 on a documentary basis, substituting images for those he could not take himself, Julien Loustau’s film now turns out to be an anticipation, a prophecy like in a science fiction novel that has come true.
By combining these two works, Geologia creates an atmosphere that encourages immersion, contemplation and reflection. By combining documentation, fiction and narrative, Guillaume Gouerou and Julien Loustau point out the ambivalence of science, revealing the contrasting and complex relationships that humanity maintains with its environment: from the natural to the artificial, from discovery to research, from exploitation to production, from hope to threat. The exhibition also deals with ecological issues that are today the subject of a growing awareness, pointing out humankind’s thirst for knowledge, its constant attempts to compete with nature and its desire to control its environment, even if it means destroying it and imitating it in order to replace it.
The film Sub by Julien Loustau is on loan from the Frac Lorraine.
1. 2. 3. 4. Guillaume Gouerou, Fulgurites, 2014 – 2020, glass, steel, wood, Led lights, variable dimensions. Display cases containing Fulgurites (stones made using the different microwave oven prototypes MW6400, MW8700, MW7200 and MW3200A) retracing the genesis of the Metatron and Nix projects, from the first tests to the jewellery and the cut stones. Coproduced by the artist and 40mcube. Photo: Margot Montigny.
5. Guillaume Gouerou, Astérismes, 2016, series of 12 black and white photographies, 20 × 27 cm. Images of a Fulgurite (stone created using the MW6400) taken with a fluorescence electronic microscope from the platform IBiSA MRic-Photonics, University of Rennes 1. Produced by GENERATOR – 40mcube / EESAB / Self Signal. Photo: Margot Montigny.
6. Guillaume Gouerou, Traveling Through Space and Time, 2019, microscope, camera, screen, modified 3D printer, metallic structure, 125 × 70 × 100 cm. Tool for live visualization of Fulgurites made with microwave ovens MW6400, MW8700, MW7200 and MW3200A. Coproduced by the artist, the University of Rennes 1 and Les Abords. This work benefited from individual support for creation by the Drac Bretagne. Photo: Margot Montigny.
7. Guillaume Gouerou, MW3200A, 2020, coper, steel, magnetrons, high voltage electric equipment, compressor, 118 × 60 × 100 cm. Microwave oven resulting from the hybridization of the MW6400, MW8700 and MW7200 versions as well as discussions with researchers from the University of Rennes 1 as part of a research and creation residency. Coproduced by the artist and the University of Rennes 1. Photo: Margot Montigny.
8. Guillaume Gouerou, Julien Loustau, Geologia, 2020, exhibition view. Curated and produced by 40mcube. Photo: Margot Montigny.
9. Julien Loustau, Sub, 2006, color video with sound, 46’. Frac Lorraine’s collection. Photo: Margot Montigny.
10. Guillaume Gouerou, Julien Loustau, Geologia, 2020, exhibition view. Curated and produced by 40mcube. Photo: Margot Montigny.