Fonds Culturel de l’Ermitage is partnering with Art Paris Art Fair to exhibit selected artists whose work recognizes that we have entered into the Anthropocene – a new geologic era marked by the impact of human activity on the earth. The Foundation has a dedicated jury, composed of renown curators and journalists including Jean-Hubert Martin (curator and former director of the Centre Pompidou), Laurent Le Bon (president of the Picasso Museum), Joëlle Pijaudier-Cabot (director of Strasbourg Museums), Björn Dahlström (curator of the Berber Museum Majorelle Garden in Marrakech), Jean-Luc Monterosso (director of MEP), Hervé Griffon (director of the FRAC Pays-de-Loire), journalists Patricia Boyer de Latour and Christophe Rioux, and collector Denyse Durand-Ruel. The above individuals have been supporting artists who are inspired by nature and are committed to protecting its beauty by denouncing the excesses of industrialization.
Milene Guermont is among the selected artists. With her engineering background, she leverages her scientific skills to create art that evokes synesthesia – a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In 2015, Guermont’s public installation Phare was launched by UNESCO for the occasion of COP21 at Place de la Concorde next to the Obelisk where the first public lighting test in the world took place in 1843. Phare is a truncated pyramid, made of aluminum and formed by 320 isosceles triangles. In total it is only 2% of the Obelisk’s weight, and is surrounded by vegetated fences. It is also covered with L.E.D. headlights, which use 70% less energy than headlights of the previous generation. For Valentine’s Day 2016, people transmitted their heart rhythms directly into Phare via a built-in sensor, and then saw it sparkle as it replicated their heartbeats in a real-time.
For Art Paris Art Fair, Fonds Culturel de l’Ermitage is exhibiting Guermont’s Crystal A. It is an interactive sculpture made of an ultra-smooth concrete exterior and a built-in magnetic sensory machine. The viewers are invited to touch the sculpture, and as they place their hands on the surface, it responds with voices Milene Guermont recorded in urban areas. “Different responses are given to each touch. I worked with scientists to engineer a magnetic sensor that triggers voice responses” she explains. The artist seeks to create a special relationship between her work and humanity, and aspires to prove that something as simple and cold as concrete can stimulate multiple senses in viewers.