Tales of a Sea Cow
Using various different media, the work of Etienne De France (Paris, 1984, lives in Reykjavik) concentrates on subjects such as science, nature and Utopian architecture; the expedient he uses is narrative. And Tales Of A Sea Cow, curated by French art-critic Annick Bureaud, is a project lying somewhere between science, reality and fiction, which concerns the recent discovery in Greenland of an extinct species of marine mammal: Rhytine de Steller. The exhibition becomes a metaphor, half-way between reality and fiction, and enables the artist to maintain the proper emotional distance from the subject he investigates: a truly poetic “free zone” where doubt may take sanctuary, where critical thought can develop in complete freedom. Underwater recordings made with instruments such as hydrophones are decoded into images and words: by extension, through these we may observe many aspects of human behaviour as the interpretation of nature, onto which we may project our evolutionary image-banks. And in these, in a not-too-distant future, we may prefigure a transformation of human beings into animals. The restitution of the project Tales Of a Sea Cow takes the form of a classic scientific documentary and of a multimedia installation, comprising hydrophones, plastic models, and reconstructed fossils, with cartography, articles and drawings, which combine to recount and comment upon the research and the significance of decoding the song of the marine mammal. Tales Of a Sea Cow is not only a “novel” in the form of an exhibition about a scientific discovery, but also a story about anthropomorphism, that is about how man understands, interprets, transforms and adapts nature, bending it to his own desires. And the narration is a metaphor of the complex relationship between man and nature, a commentary and a critique of the influences and effects of the media and of telecommunications on the animal and human world.
Wednesday March 28, 2012, 5 pm, Inner focus with Etienne De France, curated by Claudio Cravero, within the course Il sistema dell’arte contemporanea organised by Castello di Rivoli - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea at Turin Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti.