Ailleurs (“Somewhere Else”)
Paul Ardenne, Gilles A Tiberghien
“Fernando Prats is a secular alchemist. Just as the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang has renewed painting with his use of gunpowder as pigment, so prats also “paints” in an unprecedented manner, with smoke…Prats then allows Nature to paint for him. He arranges his smoke-blackened papers in a corner of the countryside, and lets the vagaries of the local weather and the specificities of the site- be it a coastal area, a desert or an earthquake zone- do the rest. The paper becomes the record of the natural life of the artist’s chosen location, the imprint of a superhuman activity and the palimpset of dunamis, the constant work and progress of Nature.”
For its 14th exhibition, the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton is offering a new variation on the theme of travel and choosing to reveal the “Somewhere Else” of eighteen so-called “expeditionist” artists.
A growing number of artists are choosing this framework: relocating creation in order to define it differently, setting out, installing the work of art or producing it outside of its conventional environment.
The nature of the expedition to which these artists devote themselves may vary widely. In this movement, in this encounter with new spaces and other humans — sometimes distant, sometimes near, but always “other” — the artist finds the opportunity for a singular creation that is primarily characterised by its offset nature.
Fernando Prats, Ailleurs, 2011