Central pavilion

under the azure

Under the Azure is an exhibition paying tribute to the Mediterranean Sea, to the imagery it evokes, to the awe it inspires, and to the ancient and contemporary myths associated with it. Under the Azure Sky draws inspiration from the evocative power of this unique sea and the visions it conjures. In the form of a marine ballet, it recreates aquatic spaces and plunges visitors into the depths of the sea, 20 thousand leagues under.


The Mediterranean brings together an infinite variety of imaginations on the same shore and under the same sky. A land of dreams and fears, it cultivates a fascination conducive to the imagination of a world.

Nourished by renewed attention to the creatures that inhabit it, the splendors that shape it, the disasters that threaten it, and the beings and ideals that perish in it, Sous l'azur unfolds like a ballet in which works appear and vanish, faithful to the perpetual movements that animate the marine world.

The exhibition features a multiplicity of works based on a variety of themes and representations: deep-sea creatures, Mediterranean myths, seascapes and sea crossings.

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Remember the light, 2016 © the artists, In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc (Greater Paris) and The Third Line (Dubai)

Aslı Çavuşoğlu, 1 Ada, 1 Salon, 2005, © Aslı Çavuşoğlu

This exhibition brings together some twenty international artists, both historical and contemporary, who share the common trait of having found in the Mediterranean an immense territory of inspiration.

The artists featured in Sous l'azur : Etel Adnan, Jean-Marie Appriou, Cecilia Bengolea, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Aly Cisse, Simone Fattal, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Edi Hila, Marguerite Humeau, Aboubacar Kanté, Yannis Maniatakos, Marisa Merz, Joan Miró, Lydia Ourahmane, Adrian Paci, Jean Painlevé, Anri Sala, Soundwalk Collective, Adrián Villar Rojas, Sidy Wague, Dominique White, Luigi Zuccheri

In each of its host cities, the exhibition also presents a unique object from the city's heritage collections, recounting the special relationship between the inhabitants and their sea.

Sous l'azur pays homage to the men and women who watch the sea from the shore, and who, as a Hittite myth tells us, once believed, like the gods, that the sea captured the sun as it fell over the horizon each evening. What would the light of the star immersed in the sea reveal? What invisible stories and presences might it illuminate?

Sous l'azur looks at our contemporary mythology, at what it tells us about the desires and despairs of our time, and how it makes the Mediterranean a territory in constant reinvention, driven by the images it conjures up.

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel

Blanche de Lestrange

The exhibition curators

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.