June 29, 2012 - Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) - Explorers
June 29, 2012


Graphic design: Müesli, Paris.

works from the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP)
8 July–10 November 2012

Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix
Rue de Verdun 
85100 Les Sables d’Olonne 


Featured artists
Martine Aballéa, Adel Abdessemed, Pierre Alferi, Dove Allouche, Berdaguer & Péjus, Biosphere, Andrea Blum, Vija Celmins, herman de vries, Détanico & Lain, Marcel Dinahet, Julien Discrit, Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Hamish Fulton, Luigi Ghirri, Kristjan Gudmundsson, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Marine Hugonnier, Peter A. Hutchinson, Anne Marie Jugnet, On Kawara, Guillermo Kuitca, Charles Lopez, Claudio Parmiggiani, Pratchaya Phinthong, Abraham Poincheval & Laurent Tixador, David Renaud, Vladimir Skoda, Nathalie Talec

The exhibition Explorers will take place at the Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix in Les Sables d’Olonne (France) and will present a selection of works from the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques (ministère de la Culture et de la Communication). The timing of the exhibition will coincide with the launch of the 7th edition of the Vendée Globe, a round-the-world yacht race.

Exploration is an invitation to discover new horizons. At once dangerous and exciting, it is intrinsically tied to adventure. Exploration represents a challenge. It is inspired by the primal yearning to go beyond one’s own limits, but also by an ardent desire to transcend the boundaries of a given world, to appropriate the most remote recesses, to pass from one universe to another.

Whatever the terrain, whether on land or deep underwater, whether real, virtual, or even buried in the subconscious, exploration remains a quest that takes place both within and beyond the self, in order to redefine the contours of an actual or imagined universe. As such, exploration bears a relationship to art, which is inspired by it, whether in the meaning or the process of creation of a work of art. From Xavier de Maistre’s Voyage Around My Room, which surveys a single room, to Jules Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages, which looks ahead to explorations of the deep-sea, of the center of the earth, and of outer space, there are seemingly infinite paths open to the explorer, from the most nearby to the most exotic, from the most direct route to the most labyrinthine.

Chance intervenes in the route and the length of the journey in the form of favorable circumstances and obstacles encountered. What you discover depends on the territory, physical or mental, and the systematic or arbitrary way in which you move through it. This group exhibition explores these parameters through a variety of works in the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques. The artist is alternately explorer, inventor, and cartographer, diving underwater, crossing oceans, burying underground, losing himself, finding his way, or drowning, bringing the spectator along in his wake.

Gaëlle Rageot-Deshayes, director, musée de l’Abbaye Sainte Croix
Sébastien Faucon, head of the visual arts collections, CNAP

In conjunction with the exhibition, a catalogue is published with a contribution by writer Alberto Manguel. It’s realized by Müesli, Paris.



Explorers, works from the Centre national des arts plastiques
Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap)
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