Émotions Terranaissantes

A solo exhibition by Elise Guillaume at L’Espace Croisé.

Elise Guillaume (1996) is a Belgian artist and filmmaker whose work “explores our complex relationship with nature”. From 6 October to 10 December 2023, Espace Croisé, Contemporary Art Centre in northern France, run a solo exhibition by Elise Guillaume, titled Émotions Terranaissantes. The title is borrowed from the Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht (Terranascient refers to the ‘life-affirming’ emotions that are inherent in being caretakers of the planet), and is used to invite us “to fully experience the emotions sparked by the ecological reality” (emotions people feel when confronted with environmental change). The theme has become more and more popular in the field of visual art in past ten years or so.

For the exhibition, Guillaume created a series of photographic and audiovisual works, produced between the North Sea and the Arctic, and said to trace links between psychological states and environmental change, delving into “the fluidity between self and other, inside and outside, the intimate and the collective”. A tough subject intellectually. Maybe Art is the proper means to investigate such mind states, “the transformative power of these states – from grief to hope – to actively make people rethink their relationships with living beings”. The aim of the exhibition was to offer a wide scale sensory experience in which emotions, bodies and landscapes intertwine.

Check the material given on the exhibition on L’Espace Croisé’s website. Here’s a nice video in which Elise Guillaume explains her intentions:

The exhibition was the result of research conducted between the North Sea and the Arctic, and consisted in an immersive installation with an 8 meter long lightbox table displaying a series of analogue photographs depicting visceral textures of ice and water. The black and white photographs were developed by the artist using Arctic seaweed based developer, and carefully placed between seaweed floating in a viscous liquid and the photo negatives. Halfway between the artist’s studio and a laboratory, the installation transports visitors into a landscape that questions traditional photographic development.

Behind the table, Elise Guillaume’s latest film, Eventual Horizon, was projected on a large screen. Shot in the Arctic, Eventual Horizon weaves together the artist’s experiences of insomnia, grief and hope “as the ice melts, the body dissolves, the night lingers and the sun burns”. The fluidity of water and the body intertwine as the artist takes us on a journey towards healing through a symbiosis with nature. The soundscapes of these two films were created using a variety of field recordings, some using hydrophones.

Here we have an artist worth following in the future!

Artist Biography

Elise Guillaume (1996) is a Belgian artist and filmmaker whose uses audio-visual mediums to create contrasting narratives to question what it means to be human in a time of crisis and extinction. The key element in her work is Body that becomes a vessel for interpreting living beings that form our natural world, encouraging discourse regarding multi-species kinship.

Elise’s work has been nominated for awards including the Aesthetica Art Prize (shortlisted 2022), Arte Laguna Art Prize (finalist 2022 & Art Nova Prize Winner) and La Scam: Prix de l’Œuvre expérimentale (shortlisted in 2022). Her work has been presented internationally, notably at Gasworks (2023, UK), KIKK Festival (2021, BE), CICA Museum (2021, KR), Ars Electronica (2021), VIDEOFORMES (2020-21, FR), Instants Vidéo Numériques et Poétiques (2022, FR), Imagine Science Film Festival (2022, USA), Cloud Seven (2022, BE), Alchemy Film & Arts (2020, GB) and Centre Wallonie Bruxelles / Paris (2022-23, FR). She has participated in residencies in remote areas such as the Atacama Desert (La Wayaka Current, 2018) and the Arctic (Arctic Circle, 2023). The artist graduated from the Royal College of Art (MA Contemporary Art Practice) and was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from the Arts Council England in 2022.

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