November 24, 2006 - Fondation d’entreprise Ricard - ZONES ARIDES
November 24, 2006


An exhibition designed by Patrice Joly

With Wilfrid Almendra, John Armleder, Clairet & Jugnet, Aurélien Froment, Mathieu Mercier, Olivier Mosset, Morgane Tschiember and Chantal Akerman, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Ange Leccia

November 24, 2006 January 5, 2007

November 12, 2006 January 7, 2007

Zones arides (which means arid zones or dry areas in French) sprang from the desire of artist and globe-trotter Olivier Mosset to share his passion for the mythical country that is Arizona. Zones arides brings together eleven artists, in residence or as simple passengers, to form an ephemeral transatlantic scene: Wilfrid Almendra, John Armleder, Clairet & Jugnet, Aurélien Froment, Mathieu Mercier, Olivier Mosset, Morgane Tschiember as well as Chantal Akerman, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Ange Leccia. They try to remap and revisit the contours of this arid zone by any means available (documentary, painting, monumental sculpture, video, etc.).

The two parts of Zones arides, at the Ricard Corporate Foundation in Paris and at le lieu unique in Nantes, constitute two instances of the same project: the joint attempts to recreate a landscape fragmented in its multiple interpretations and to import a piece of American territory on French soil. In 2007 the exhibition will travel to The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Tucson.

In contrast to its physical reality (the desert takes up 80% of its surface area), Arizona is peopled by countless mythologies, which have made it a cult destination for many American and European travelers. Once the grandiloquent scenery of a founding epic, it now serves as the setting of fantasized representations.

The grand fictional machine of Hollywood largely contributed to its legendary status, even though the American dream embodied in the conquering cavalcades of John Fords films has largely been revisited since the 1960s. Similarly, the wars underpinning that dream have been reassessed from the perspective of their tragic consequences: the destruction of indigenous populations, the sealing of borders and the whittling away of the desert caused by urban sprawl. Beyond the undeniable power of cinema in preempting the imagination of the West, the ability of artists to appropriate it has also been well known. In the early twentieth century, American photographers communicated their idealized version of an industrious America. The long love story between the desert and land artists, with their manifold investigations, is not any different. Painting has also largely tapped into the springs of aridity to experiment with the collusion between geographic dryness and radical pictorial work.

The exhibition spans the whole range of artistic practices and strives to draw a new map of mythological territories. The list of super stereotypes naturally associated with Arizona includes the road and the car, its mechanical counterpart (both symbols of the American way of life and of perpetual movement), but also the Frontier, Indians, or cactuses. The artists of Zones arides have drawn from this list the material needed to reactivate the myth, each in his/her own favorite medium: painting, monumental sculpture, installation or video.
A catalog will be published alongside the exhibit by le lieu unique and the Ricard Corporate Foundation, with the support of the CULTURESFRANCE (French Association for Artistic Initiative), the city of Nantes, and the DRAC (Regional Office for Cultural Affairs) for the Pays de la Loire region.
Fondation dentreprise Ricard

9 rue Royale 75008 Paris
Tel: 33 (0)1 53 30 88 00

Admission free, open Monday Friday, 10am 7pm.
Closed from 23rd December to 1st January (included).
Subway stations, parking lots: Concorde, Madeleine
le lieu unique – scène nationale de Nantes

entrée quai Ferdinand-Favre Nantes
Tel.: 33 (0)2 40 12 14 34

Admission free, open Tuesday Saturday, 1 8pm, and Sundays, 3 7pm.

Fondation d’entreprise Ricard
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