Anne and Patrick Poirier, "Danger zone", 2001. Neon and various materials. 7 m x 3,5 m. Claudine and Jean-Marc Salomon collection. Photo: Anne and Patrick Poirier. © ADAGP, Paris 2016.
Anne and Patrick Poirier, "Exotica", 2000. Claudine and Jean-Marc Salomon collection. © ADAGP, Paris 2016.
JULY 2ND 2016 - JANUARY 29TH 2017
For the first retrospective exhibition of Anne and Patrick Poirier in France, the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Metropole gathers some forty major works of one of the very first and rare artist couples.
"Danger Zones", a title chosen purposefully by Anne and Patrick Poirier, refers back to one of their emblematic and premonitory works from 2001. It reflects the visionary character of their intuitions, stemming from their attentive and detached observation of past history and the course of world events today. It vividly reasserts the pertinence of the questioning at the heart of their polymorphic and poetic work: the fragility of civilisations and of nature, the primordial role of memory and its functioning as an antidote to the tyranny of time, the havoc of wars and the threats to our consciousness.
Anne and Patrick Poirier refer to themselves as architects-archaeologists. They started to visit, to search, collect and make inventories on the sites and vestiges of ancient civilisations from the moment they first worked together in Rome in 1967. Their passion for travel, sometimes almost in the form of wanderings, and their discoveries of the heritage of humanity, are deeply rooted in their artistic practice. In the wake of Claude Lévi-Strauss’ teachings, they belong to the first generations of artists to have travelled around the world to understand the organization of ancient cities, and more particularly, the forms of their disappearance.
This exhibition features recent works such as "Daidalopolis" (2016), a monumental work resembling a drone, a kind of Noah’s Ark of culture, specifically conceived for the exhibition; the white paintings from the "Mésopotamie" series (2012-2016), monochrome allegories of the current destruction in the Middle East, or "Hatra" (2016), a carpet evoking the martyrdom of this town devastated by the forces of the Islamic State. Others are earlier works, including "2235 AP JC" (2001), a spectacular model of a futuristic post-apocalyptic city, or "Construction IV" (1977), from the "Domus aurea" series, a vast landscape of blackened ruins submerged in water, as dark as it is sordid.
Echoing their artistic development - “we have imagined this exhibition as a journey where time and places mingle, a journey without chronology or a map, through the landscapes of our memory, through our works both old and new” – the exhibition invites visitors to enter Anne and Patrick Poirier’s world, to the rhythm of the inter-connecting rooms, from that of the "Ruines du futur", (Ruins of the future) to the "Regards intérieurs "(Interior Regards), then onto "L’incertitude et de l’oubli" (The incertitude and the forgotten), finally leading to "La salle des Mémoires englouties" (The room of submerged memories).