Le Crédac

The flora of the aftermath

Benoît Piéron

Sunday 26 June 2022, from 3 to 5 pm

In parallel with the 2021-2022 artistic season at Crédac, Benoît Piéron follows the four seasons by conducting workshops on plants. After having encapsulated Derek Jarman’s garden in the fall, in the winter he herbed the “thousand-flower” motif of the Unicorn Tapestries during workshops to make capsules filled with seeds. In the spring, he invites us to herborize and reinvent Albrecht Dürer’s drawing The Great Piece of Turf (1503) in the form of small clumps to grow.

At the beginning of the summer, Benoît Piéron proposes a workshop and a discussion around the polemoflora or obsidional flora (plants resulting from the aftermath of wars or marking the corridors of armies’ passages).
The meeting begins with a discussion between the artist and Julia Leclerc, mediator at Crédac, around the vegetation that appears, resists or is reborn following illness and trauma, migrations and world conflicts. Everything is accompanied by works by artist-gardeners, music, images of recent work by Benoît Piéron, and literary references. The workshop consists of making capsules to plant enclosing a selection of plant species involuntarily imported into France from the Napoleonic wars to the two World Wars.

Seeds contained in the capsules, with peat and fertilizer:

  • Bunias orientalis - Rocket of the Orient, Bunias of the Orient: food and fodder plant of oriental origin, introduced into France by the Cossacks pursuing the Napoleonic troops in 1814.
  • Gentiana lutea - Yellow gentian: grown in Moselle by Bavarian soldiers of the German 3th army after the French defeat in 1870.
  • Geranium pratense - Cranesbill: arrived in France with the supply of German soldiers, via the railways in 1870 and 1914-1918.

    CULTURAL REFERENCES (hover over text to activate hyperlinks):

    —— Plants of Ruins and Speculation ——
  • Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, 2017 
  • Donna J. Haraway, Staying With the Trouble, 2016
  • Ágnes Dénes, WheatField - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan, 1982
  • Shimabuku, Ivry Earth, Water and Sunlight: piles of earth taken from six places being demolished or under construction in Ivry-sur-Seine. Watered every day, plants grow there spontaneously. Symbols of resilience, these islets of earth adjoin the Erect video and the Erect (Ivry) installation where trees that died during the 2011 tsunami are straightened on a Japanese beach, while the remains of a pavilion razed during summer 2018 in the heart of the Gagarin social housing bears witness to the past of Ivry and its inhabitants who lived there for nearly a century. — Exhibition Pour les pieuvres, les singes et les Hommes at Crédac in 2018.

    —— Chemical wars and accidents ——
  • Thu Van Tran, Colours of grey; constellation of 82 turtles — exhibition 24 heures à Hanoï at Crédac in 2019.
  • Mathieu Asselin, Monsanto: a Photographic Investigation, Actes Sud, 2017
  • Anaïs Tondeur, Chernobyl Herbarium, 2011 - in progress: Exclusion Zone, Chernobyl, Ukraine; Radiation level: 1.7 Ms/ hour
  • Peter Cusak, Chernobyl Frogs (Sounds From Dangerous Places), 2012
  • Mazen Kerbaj, Starry Night, 2006: saxophone improvisation to the rhythm of detonations while the Israeli army bombards Beirut.

    —— Plants against ailments and words ——
  • Derek Jarman, Prospect Cottage garden in Dungeness — meeting at Crédac between Marco Martella and Claire Le Restif: listen here in French.
  • Paul Harfleet, The Pansy Project: the artist plants a thought on the sites of homophobic physical and verbal aggression.

    —— Plant and human migrations; colonization and slavery ——
  • Henk Wildschut, Rooted, 2011-2018: pleasure gardens in refugee camps.
  • Kapwani Kiwanga, exhibition Cima Cima at Crédac in 2021.

Artist biography

  • Benoît Piéron is a French artist born in 1983 in Ivry-sur-Seine. He creates moments, installations and objects. Benoît Piéron is interested in the sensuality of plants, the borders of the body and the temporality of waiting rooms. He practices patchwork, existential gardening and draws wallpapers. Having always lived with a pet disease, the hospital world is his ecosystem.
    He graduated with honors from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2007 and participated in the Hermès Foundation residency program in 2010. In 2011-2012 he is a resident at the Casa de Velázquez, the French academy in Madrid. In 2014 he was welcomed in residence at the Fernand Léger Gallery in Ivry-sur-Seine, where he had his first solo exhibition in 2015. In 2018, he had a solo exhibition at the Centre d’art contemporain Les Tanneries d’Amilly. Resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts in 2020 and 2021, he gives in parallel to his exhibitions workshops knitted around the herborization, validism. In 2021, he planted the stand of the Mendes Wood gallery at the Fiac and grew a large tuft of grass in the courtyard of the MAT - contemporary art center in Ancenis. For a few months he has been questioning the food of unicorns, the place of orgasm in hospitals and lethal flora. His works have been exhibited in France, Brussels, Japan, Korea, Spain and Canada.

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