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The senses and the body at the Martell Foundation

Until November 6, the Martell Foundation is hosting a new exhibition entitled “The end is in the beginning and yet we continue”. A title taken from a play by Samuel Beckett, which finds a strange echo in this “post-lockdown” world. An exhibition designed by the curator, Nathalie Viot around the five senses, augmented by two new ones, vulnerability and movement, in a synesthetic approach. Explanations.

In Cognac, at the heart of the Martell Foundation, the exhibition “The end is in the beginning and yet we continue” takes shape in the maze of open vats. At the request of Nathalie Viot, former director of the foundation now directed by Anne-Claire Duprat, they were produced by the Chalvignac group for the previous exhibition, and have since been preserved. A game of mazes and connections, like so many boxes offered to artists and craftsmen to express themselves.

As a setting in conditions, it is a sound installation of the Berliner Reto Pulfer which welcomes the spectator from the entrance. Lying on cushions, headphones over their ears, the viewer is invited to immerse themselves in fortuitous conversations – and “mnemonic” stories to “tune in” to Gina, heroine of the post-apocalytric novel written by the artist in full confinement. Lent by the FRAC Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine, it is also the only work in the exhibition that was not designed in situ.

Site view of the exhibition ``The end is in the beginning and yet we go on``. Installation of textile designer Jeanne Vicérial and dancer Julie Cima. Courtesy Martell Corporate Foundation © CK Mariot

mechanical alchemy

Conditioned, the visitor contemplates in the case following a strange alchemy around the movement. An installation that brings together the textile designer Jeanne Vicérial, who continues her work as a “clothing clinic” and the dancer and fasciatherapist Julia Cima. Her textile sculptures literally take on body and life during times of danced rituals. A strange exchange, between a robot that slowly weaves a dress from a thread, and an inhabited presence of the artist. An incredible alchemy, between the softened mechanics, which rustles like a breath, connected by the prism of the weaving close to the body. The device was designed with the help of the Ingeliance company for robotic programming. This space is inhabited like a sanctuary; the machine comes to relay the body, the sculpture dictates the movement… and challenges what some call the 6th sense: proprioception. That Sens ,”allows you to have a more or less precise awareness of the position of your body in space”. (see Science and the future, 27/9/2016).

Pédagogie active

Plus que la démonstration, c’est le ressenti qu’a privilégié l’artiste Odile Soudant pour évoquer la vue : le visiteur est invité à expérimenter physiquement dans un dispositif lumineux la création de phosphènes, ces images lumineuses que crée notre cerveau à la suite d’un éblouissement.
Le goût et l’odorat sont interrogés par Julie C. Fortier, dans un premier dispositif, de mise en résonance de ces deux sens, dans lequel un aliment est accompagné d’un parfum, à l’instar d’un condiment. Dans un second espace, un tapis en laine tufté laisse à celui qui s’y roule des impressions olfactives, comme un minipaysage improvisé. Les différents éléments – récipients en porcelaine, tapis; ont été faits sur place.

Site views of the exhibition " The end is in the beginning and yet we continue " olfactory installations by artist Julie C. Fortier. Courtesy Martell Corporate Foundation © CK Mariot

Human nature

Nature is present in the course, by its strength of resilience. Starting from the observation that we will develop an intuition by becoming aware of our vulnerability – which could be the 7th sense of the exhibition? – Nathalie Viot invited the botanist Marc Jeanson to design with the designer duo Alexandre Willaume and Marie Corail installations highlighting the adaptability of plants. Further on, Rachel Marks invites you to touch, revealing sculptures of majestic tree trunks, modeled from an assembly of real paper vines, in an incandescent staging, which literally crosses the supporting frames of the space.

Enlightened amateurs and the general public, the strength of this course is to address everyone, in a poetic wandering which also gives the most curious the desire to dig deeper into the subject after the visit.

Nathalie Degardin

Installation by multidisciplinary artist Rachel Marks, courtesy Martell Corporate Foundation © CK Mariot
Installation of the design duo Atelier Marietalexandre and the botanist Marc Jeanson, courtesy Fondation d'entreprise Martell © CK Mariot

Jusqu’au 6 novembre, Fondation d’entreprise Martell 16 avenue Paul Firino Martell 16100 Cognac,
Du jeudi au samedi de 14h à 20h – Le dimanche de 11h à 17h

Visites racontées le mercredi à 11h et 16h30