Wednesday, July 5, 2017

4.543 billion. The matter of matter

Alexandra Navratil, Detail of ‘Modern Magic’ (2013), courtesy the artist and Dan Gunn, Berlin

4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ is an exhibition that addresses works of art, collections and cultural histories in relation to ecological processes and a geological scale of time. It presents a continuum of materials and temporal landscapes – films, works on paper, photographs, sculptures, documents, and other meaningful things – and springs from the CAPC building’s former life as a warehouse for colonial commodities whose limestone walls were once deep in the ground and whose wooden beams were once part of a forest.

A central proposal of the exhibition is that works of art are part of geophysical history as much as art history. ‘4.543 billion’ attempts to take into account both a micro-local and a planetary perspective, and to rethink some of the histories of art as fragments of broader narratives about the Earth and how our place in it has been represented. What is at stake when art and museums take on greater temporal and material awareness? How might they move beyond a spatial framework of “think globally, act locally”, to “think historically, act geologically”?

This exhibition takes a situated view of the past that resists an undifferentiated narrative in which modernity in general is at fault for global ecological disarray, or humanity in an invariably abstract sense must take responsibility. Accordingly, the artists included instead often address the specific roles and purposeful effects of individuals, practices, states or corporations in an account of how mineral agents and organic processes have intertwined with and underpinned culture. Several of the more documentary projects on display trace the relationships between Modern art, the museum, and wealth created through extractive industry, combining approaches framed by Earth sciences with colonial history, sociology and political reportage. Yet other works take a more atmospheric, filmic, sculptural or graphic approach to extraction, economy, energy and global exchange, whether orbiting around sunlight, forests, synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels, or the services and substances entailed in buildings that display art

With the participation of: A.J. Aalders, Lara Almarcegui, Maria Thereza Alves, Félix Arnaudin, Amy Balkin, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck in collaboration with Media Farzin, Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher, Étienne Denisse, Hubert Duprat, Giulio Ferrario, Ângela Ferreira, Anne Garde, Ambroise-Louis Garneray, Terence Gower, Rodney Graham, Ilana Halperin (also at the Université de Bordeaux’s zoology department), Marianne Heier, Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller, Lucas Ihlein and Louise Kate Anderson, Jannis Kounellis, Martín Llavaneras, Erlea Maneros Zabala, Nicholas Mangan, Fiona Marron, Alexandra Navratil, Xavier Ribas, Alfred Roll, Amie Siegel, Lucy Skaer, Alfred Smith, Rayyane Tabet, Pierre Théron, Pep Vidal, Alexander Whalley Light, Stuart Whipps (also at the Musée des Beaux-Arts) as well as documents and objects lent by the archives of the CAPC, the Archives Bordeaux Métropole, the Archives départementales de la Gironde, and the geology collection of the UFR Sciences de la Terre et de la Mer, Université de Bordeaux.

Curated by Latitudes

CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
29 June 2017–7 January 2018