The Mediterranean Sea brings together on one shore and under one sky an infinite variety of imaginations. As a territory of dreams and fears, it nurtures a fascination that fuels the imagination of a world.
Nourished by a renewed attention to the creatures that inhabit it, the splendors that shape it, the disasters that threaten it, as well as the beings and ideals that perish within it, Under the Azure Sky unfolds like a ballet where artworks emerge and fade, faithful to the perpetual movements that animate the marine world.
The exhibition offers a multitude of artworks exploring various themes and representations: the creatures of the deep sea, Mediterranean myths, marine landscapes, and the crossing of seas.
Catherine Cattaruzza,I Can’t Recall the Edges,2016 – 2019
Etel Adnan, To the ocean, 2017
Under the Azure Sky brings together a group of around twenty international artists, both historical and contemporary, who have found in the Mediterranean a vast realm of inspiration. It also presents, in each hosting city, a unique object from the local heritage collections that tells the special relationship woven between the inhabitants and their sea.
Among them are: Etel Adnan, Jean-Marie Appriou, Cecilia Bengolea, Simone Fattal, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Edi Hila, Marguerite Humeau, Yannis Maniatakos, Joan Miró, Lydia Ourahmane, Jean Painlevé, Anri Sala, Emilija Škarnulytė, Adrián Villar Rojas, Dominique White, and others.
The exhibition pays tribute to those who gaze at it from the shore, and who, as a Hittite myth tells, once believed like gods that the sea captured the sun every evening as it descended on the horizon. What would the light of the sun immersed in the sea reveal? What untold stories and invisible presences could it illuminate?
Under the Azure Sky invites us to delve into our contemporary mythology, exploring what it reveals about the desires and despairs of our time, and how it constantly reinvents the Mediterranean as a territory driven by the evocative images it conjures.
Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel is the director of Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation des Galeries Lafayette. In 2020, she served as the general curator of the Riga Biennial, "and suddenly it all blossoms," and directed the feature film inspired by the exhibition. From 2011 to 2019, she worked as a curator at the Palais de Tokyo, where she curated, among others, the solo exhibitions of Tomas Saraceno, ON AIR (2018-2019), and Tino Seghal (2016). She also presented exhibitions by Marguerite Humeau, FOXP2 (2016), and Ed Atkins, Bastards (2014). She regularly collaborates with international institutions, including the projects "72 hours of truce: exploring immediate signs" (2013) and "Bright intervals" (2014) at MoMA PS1 (New York), and FOXP2 (2016) at Nottingham Contemporary, as well as "Landscape" (2014) with the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam).
Blanche de Lestrange is the Artistic Director of the Art Explora Foundation since 2020. She defines the artistic direction for various projects of the foundation and oversees the programming of the Art Explora Festival in the Mediterranean, artist residencies in France at the Cité internationale des arts, and their international development, as well as the inaugural exhibition at Hangar Y. Prior to this role, she was the Deputy Director of the FIAC, where she was responsible for the artistic programming for ten years. Blanche is also the co-founder of Thanks for Nothing, an organization that bridges the gap between the art world and the nonprofit sector.