Landscape Matter

Lara Almarcegui, Katinka Bock, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, EZCT Architecture & Design Research, Vincent Ganivet, Beat Lippert, Gyan Panchal
20/09/2008 – 23/11/2008

The exhibition “Landscape Matter” has been curated by La Galerie in collaboration with artist Simon Boudvin, at the invitation of the Seine-Saint-Denis Département Council to take part in the 9th Art Grandeur Nature Biennial “Shared Urban Zones”. It is part of the national Journées du Patrimoine festival, which this year in Noisy-le-Sec is focusing on the Cité Expérimentale de Merlan.


“Landscape Matter” approaches architecture as a cyclical landscape of materials, signalling the transition from ruins to construction site. The works leave the issues of urbanism and architectural typology to the planners and reflect more clearly the origins of the building materials, their erosion and their future. Where some attempt to organise chaos, others on the contrary choose to disrupt the existing order. Drawing on issues historically typical of Land Art, the exhibition redirects speculation about the entropic landscape towards an urban materiality in constant transformation. Like an apprentice mechanic, we are dismantling the construction part by part. The elements are laid on the ground: land, materials, heating and lighting equipment, methods of assembly… Our eye is offered a dislocated landscape, like a building without cement.


Here is what it is made of:


Land: The tyranny of “form follows function”1 has brought about – after the end of function – waste-forms, ruins and empty spaces. Lara Almarcegui has archived these abandoned or suspended spaces and is presenting her inventory.


The elements: Gyan Panchal concentrates Mendeleev’s table into an overlay of signs, a symbol of some global synthesis, or the ultimate composite matter. He uses normally hidden insulation materials to create the beginnings of an architectural form. Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain have devised a numerical alphabet made of construction blocks which visitors can decipher. Lara Almarcegui has weighed La Galerie in Noisy-le-Sec, listing and quantifying all the different materials used in the building.


Dust: Vincent Ganivet spreads dust from a construction site on a vibrating metal sheet attached to a compressor : spirals and regular disturbances slowly move of their own accord. He is presenting a floor mandala made out of traces from the setting up of the exhibition – leftover off-cuts, shavings and other scraps.


Heat: Katinka Bock has reopened an old chimney in La Galerie to build a fireplace reusing the iron sheets from the Brissonneau & Lotz house2.


Water: Katinka Bock is re-routing the rain falling on the rusting roof of the Brissonneau & Lotz house, to a fountain built out of a container found on the premises, which will also rust during the exhibition.


Light: The primary function of Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain’s reopening of the Coignet house’s walled up windows2 is not to allow light inside nor to give its residents a view of the outside, but to emit light beams across the horizon like a lighthouse over the city.


Assembly logic: The cobblestones that Katinka Bock has removed and dipped in tar are scattered organically on the floor. EZCT Architecture & Design Research has programmed a computer to generate chairs from an 8 sq. cm block and a genetic algorithm. The program does not know traditional four-legged furniture designs and comes up with sometimes complex, sometimes grotesque forms. Beat Lippert has taken gravel from its extraction site and sorted it by size. Arranged in columns, these little stones give graphic expression to this crazy system of classification.


Simon Boudvin et Marianne Lanavère


Translated by Gabriel Baldessin


1. As formulated by American architect Louis Sullivan (1856–1924)


2. An extension of the exhibition at the Cité Expérimentale de Merlan will bring to life two abandoned houses – the Brissonneau & Lotz house and the Coignet house. The Cité de Merlan is a neighbourhood in Noisy-le-Sec planned as accommodation for local victims of bombings in 1944, after an experimental architecture competition to design around fifty easy to build, cheap and innovative houses. Nordic-inspired wooden individual houses, iron containers with pitched roofs, fake American mobile homes, etc. The experiment was intended as a people’s version of a Case Study House, without no subsequent publication. Nowadays if you look closely you can find an Atelier Prouvé house under a thick layer of grey roughcast, and metal assembly components under Breton-style stone cladding.


For the Art Grandeur Nature biennial, Lara Almarcegui, Katinka Bock and Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain were invited to create works relating to an architectural context extending from La Galerie – a late-19th century villa hosting the art centre today – to the Cité Expérimentale de Merlan.

around the exhibition

  • 20/09/2008

    From 7:30 to 10:30
    “Lighthouse”, installation by Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, House Coignet, cité expérimentale de Merlan, in Noisy-le-Sec.
    Projet proposé dans le cadre de la biennale Art Grandeur Nature en Seine-Saint-Denis.

  • 21/09/2008

    From 7:30 to 10:30
    “Lighthouse”, installation by Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, House Coignet, cité expérimentale de Merlan, in Noisy-le-Sec.

  • 27/09/2008

    From 7:00 to 8:30 pm
    Concert by Ouïe/Dire Collective, in partnership with Les Instants Chavirés, Montreuil.

  • 04/10/2008

    Taxi tram:
    Bus tour to La Galerie in Noisy-le-Sec and Le Forum in Le Blanc-Mesnil.

  • 09/10/2008

    “A time for art”: art criticism workshops open to all, at La Galerie and at la cité expérimentale de Merlan (October 16), and visit the exhibition “La spécificité des sols”, at Les Instants Chavirés, Montreuil.

  • 24/10/2008

    From 9:00 to 11:00 pm
    “Fiac Cinéma” screening
    Artists! films presented by art centres during the Fiac art fair at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

  • 22/11/2008

    From 6:00 to 7:30 pm
    Talk by Gilles A. Tiberghien, philosopher, on the entropic landscape.