More than one million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggled to cope with the influx and creating division in the European Union over how best to deal with resettling people. Three years later, the numbers are sharply down from their 2015-16 peak, but the underlying factors for the crisis have not gone away, making it only a matter of time before it picks up again.
The upcoming exhibition at Galerie Géraldine Banier titled Passager brings together four artists whose work explores the issues of the migration crisis. Through conceptual practices, performative or figurative processes, Maguy Banq, Marco Cordero, Mouhamadou Moustapha Diop and Nicolas Demeersman explore this suspended time in which history has not yet decided.
A French artist, Maguy Banq allies the work of the bronze to materials and forms of the minimalist art. The exhibition features the artist's installation of driftwood and water, inviting the public to follow the journey strewn with sometimes fatal pitfalls of the refugees. Although these bronze characters seem fragile at first, upon closer inspection, the face of friendship and solidarity comes through. In this way, Banq has shifted the balance towards what's best in us as humans.
Coming from Senegal, the videographer and painter Mouhamadou Moustapha Diop has witnessed this crisis first hand. His canvas is a poetic allegory in which the birds cross fields of barbed wire, surmounting the walls of cement. It invites the viewer to decipher the incoherence and chaos of animals that usually stand as icons of freedom.
Using the library as a collective heritage, Marco Cordero creates sculptures that hold a material “reminiscence” value, establishing a genealogic relationship to matter. The foot, as a symbol of walking, is at the heart of the work exhibited here. The artist carved its imprint in a book, which stands as a mountain of knowledge and wisdom. This carpet of books appears as the one which welcomes our guests at the entrance of the houses.
A French photographer, filmmaker and publicist, Nicolas Demeersman uses the absurd to criticize contemporary society. In the series titled Who Deserves Our Lifejackets?, he plays with the glossy paper of the magazines. The subject of his the series is a collection of worn or disembodied lifejackets in different prints, ranging from African wax to Louis Vuitton logo. Presented at the walls of the gallery, they seem as trophies of a merciless battle.
The title of the exhibition evokes the writing of a French geneticist, popularizer of science, essayist and humanist Albert Jacquard, where he describes people as conscious and deadly passengers acting on this planet.
We are depositories and passers of experiences, of knowledge, exchanging in projections their questions, their ambitions, their ideas, dreams and ideals, their struggles and struggles to advance in resonance, by our shared unities.
The exhibition Passager will open at Galerie Géraldine Banier in Paris on September 28th and will stay on view until November 24th, 2018. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 27th, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Featured image: Marco Cordero - Welcome. All images courtesy of Galerie Géraldine Banier.