May 22, 2017 - LiFE – submarine base in Saint-Nazaire - hrm199: Haroon Mirza & Francesca Fornasari
May 22, 2017

LiFE – submarine base in Saint-Nazaire

Haroon Mirza, ããã, 2016. Dimensions variable. Installation view at PIVÔ, São Paulo, Brazil, 2016. © Haroon Mirza. Courtesy PIVÔ, São Paulo.

hrm199: Haroon Mirza & Francesca Fornasari

feat. Nik Void & Tim Burgess
May 25–September 24, 2017 

DJ set at the VIP: May 24, 8:30pm, with Haroon Mirza and DJ Moossa (concert Hall in the submarine base)
The VIP, Saint-Nazaire

LiFE - International Space for Emerging Arts, Saint-Nazaire
Alveole 14
Boulevard de la Légion d'Honneur
44600 Saint-Nazaire

By invitation of Le Grand Café – contemporary art centre, Saint-Nazaire, the LiFE is hosting a new work by British artist Haroon Mirza (1977).

/\/\/\ is the title of this exhibition. Presented by Haroon Mirza under the name of his studio, hrm199, this project has been conceived in response to the monumental specificity of this atypical space which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. Haroon Mirza is showing a work at the intersection of different fields of knowledge, reflecting the LiFE and its multidisciplinary programme. The artist has collaborated here with architect Francesca Fornasari and musicians Nik Void (Factory Floor) and Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) to produce a work that sculpts the acoustic space in the visual space, and vice versa. Since the opening of the LiFE, artists such as Anthony McCall, Simone Decker, The Chapuisat Brothers, Jeppe Hein, raumlaborberlin and now Haroon Mirza have taken up the challenge of mastering the 1460 m2 of the former shelter for combat submarines.


Haroon Mirza is an artist of interaction. His work fluidly combines ancient and contemporary technologies, and offers us installations with multiple issues that brilliantly reflect the complexity of our universe. The immediacy of perception is an essential question for Haroon Mirza, who uses sensation to facilitate reflection.

The exhibition that unfolds within the LiFE’s monumental space has the form of a science base where prophetic visions meet with primitive beliefs, reminiscences of Saint-Nazaire’s history, cutting-edge biology and pulsing rhythms orchestrated in an organic and poetic vital flow. Out of this virtuoso game of interlocking, collision and sequencing emerges a nagging question that has guided the artist’s recent investigations: through what forms does humanity successfully grasp reality?

What is hidden behind this enigmatic title of six forward slashes and six backslashes? Has Haroon Mirza coded his message in ASCII ([aski:]), an information coding standard that appeared in the US in the 1960s? That would be a red herring; the zigzag form in fact relates to astrology. It is the typographic interpretation of the sign of Aquarius, the water carrier, and translates an undulating movement as a geometric version of a wave. Here, the artist is referring to the Age of Aquarius, characterised by the importance of progress, scientific thought and critical reason. According to some astronomical calculations, the great periods of our history are determined by the alignment of the sun with one of the constellations of the zodiac, each "age" lasting around 2160 years. So we would now be at the point of leaving the Age of Pisces, a period dominated by religion and belligerence, and entering the Age of Aquarius, which is characterized by the importance of progress, scientific thought, critical reason and which would be an epoch of rediscovered harmony.
These very ancient beliefs—astrology dates back to Babylonian times—flirt strangely with some scientific data: in the current state of our knowledge, the idea has emerged that everything could be modelled in wave functions or forms. From DNA to particles, waves are the means through which we perceive reality. Could contemporary thought be unconsciously influenced by the predictions of those great astronomical upheavals? Did our ancestors have an intuition of the age of waves?

With this laconic symbol of a title, Haroon Mirza draws the straight slopes of a landscape and affirms his position as an artist: disruptive, speculative and poetic, often mixing several fields of knowledge and discouraging all hasty interpretation.

Eva Prouteau


Exhibition curator: Sophie Legrandjacques, director of Le Grand Café - contemporary art centre

This exhibition is supported by Fluxus Art Projects

LiFE – submarine base in Saint-Nazaire
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