This exhibition is part of Exporama.

Since they took part in the first edition of GENERATOR in 2014, Aurélie Ferruel & Florentine Guédon have developed their work spectacularly, multiplying residencies, group and solo exhibitions in France and abroad.

For their exhibition at 40mcube, their research focused on their relationship with the earth in general, and their own attachment to this element, which they see as a major influence on their lives and their work on different levels: intimate, symbolic, familial, legal, social, societal, ecological. They produce an installation made up of various raw and reworked materials, and rethink the way they work together. The exhibition is the sum and articulation of these individualities and autonomously produced elements, in the manner of a particularly harmonious group show, which reveals itself in different layers and is gradually explored.

The softly colored paintings that shape the space suggest a movement between pastoral and flowery landscapes, including a sweet scene between a cow and her calf. The term Nouaison, meaning the fragile, furtive moment when a flower turns into fruit, is embodied in a sculpture consisting of a tree branch extending into precious glass sculptures. An initial bucolic vision, reinforced by an ambient sound composition, from which we can hear comments on the relationship with nature, animals and agricultural work, from the viewpoint of love and beauty. These fragmentary accounts are collected from the artists’ families, who express a poetic approach to their work and their lives.

However, this poetry seems to be disturbed by the discovery of a painted calving scene, and by the strangeness of the sculptures presented on the floor or leaning against the walls, which may evoke numerous references from art history. Oscillating between recumbent statues, mythological gods and goddesses with symbols of fertility, these figures, with their eyes obscured by seeds, display rather tortured positions. Human beings, gods and goddesses, animals, all seem to be scrutinizing us.

Discreetly placed, headphones offer an individualized listening experience that can be enjoyed while wandering through the exhibition, to the sound of a story that replaces the ambient one. Nathalie, a lawyer, tells the story of inheritance and generational change in the world of agriculture.

The exhibition then shifts to another type, that of a much more frontal documentary, which contrasts with the falsely idyllic aspect of the installation. A second, harsher phase, like a backdrop, a rougher counterpart to the first picture.

At the far end of the exhibition space, a painting-sculpture-bench allows us to sit down – or lie down – to listen statically to the testimony of Louise, a psychologist, who talks frankly about the taboo subjects of rape and incest. Above, two eyes evoke the phenomenon of dissociation caused by trauma.

Through these questions of transmission, inheritance and family secrets, sometimes tender, sometimes funny, sometimes harsh, Aurélie Ferruel & Florentine Guédon show the complexity and non-binarity of the world, undoing clichés while trying not to create new ones.

Anne Langlois