Marguerite Humeau’s new show gives us news from another world, a world where non-human creatures are no longer spectators witnessing the destruction of the world, but beings capable of transcendence and spiritual emotions.
It’s the end but it’s also a beginning. Strange organic forms creep around on the smooth concrete floor of C L E A R I N G, stranded there following a catastrophe. Some stand up as if searching for breathable air or perhaps for a presence, or as if answering a call; others emit a thin trickle of water that envelopes them in a thin translucent stream.
The sculptures that the London-based French artist is presenting in Brussels are the result of research and reflection carried out alongside scientists and philosophers on the effect of the destruction of the ecosystem on the evolution of non-human species and their capacity for transcendence.
What impact will global warming have on species other than humans? Isn’t the awareness of one’s own end and of death the first manifestation of a form of spirituality that leads to the creation of a mythology?
These questions are the fertile ground that yielded the fascinating specimens on display. These indefinable marine creatures have neither jaws, teeth, nor scales. There is nothing aggressive about them. The material is smooth, the colours are a mix of grey, blue, and pink.
Modelled in 3D based on the artist’s drawings, they seem to have been made in a manner that eliminated all human intervention, as if they were beings that emerged from an egg or an artificial mould.
In a translucent display case located in one of the back rooms, we find a shoal of fish reduced to the state of skeletons. By one of those incredible mutations that are constantly rewriting the map of life, the vertebrates still take regular breaths to live, causing their pulmonary organs to pulsate gently.
Further on, on a low base, there are other skeletons with motionless pouches that reveal the functional framework of these animals struggling for survival.
The artist’s beautiful drawings, exhibited for the first time, reveal what guides her creative process. A world caught between life and death, between the air and the waves. Nothing is explained, prolonging the mystery.
The placement of the sculptures within the vast space of the gallery adds to the magic and mystery that emanate from them, as does the intriguing and understated soundtrack on which Marguerite Humeau has synthesized the sounds of a marine mammal. We don’t know what it is communicating to us, a call for help, a warning, or simply an invitation to look and to dream.