Trees – Fondation Cartier

From July 12, 2019 to January 5, 2020
Paris, France



From July 12, 2019 to January 5, 2020

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris, France

Bringing together a community of artists, botanists, and philosophers, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain echoes the latest scientific research that sheds new light on trees. Organized around several large ensembles of works, the exhibition Trees gives voice to numerous figures who, through their aesthetic or scientific journey, have developed a strong, intimate link with trees, thereby revealing the beauty and biological wealth of these great protagonists of the living world, threatened today with large-scale deforestation.

Guided tours
Tuesdays through Fridays at 6:00 PM
Reservations only in situ, the same day and from 5:00PM
Free entry with exhibition admission ticket
Subject to number of available spaces

Picture © Edouard Caupeil.

Francis Hallé

A major inspiration for the exhibition, the botanist and draftsman, Francis Hallé (France) is, above all, a lover of trees. An expert in their architectural forms and the canopies of tropical forests, and a fervent defender of primary forests, he is a privileged witness of the incredible wealth of the plant world and its fragility in the face of human predation. Though he studies trees from a scientific perspective, he also approaches them from an aesthetic and poetic point of view, as evidenced by the remarkable observational drawings that fill his travel notebooks, a selection of which can be seen here.

“I wonder if our initial relationship to trees is aesthetic rather than scientific. When we come across a beautiful tree, it is an extraordinary thing.”

Francis Hallé

Picture © Edouard Caupeil.

Fabrice Hyber

In his paintings, Fabrice Hyber (France), artist and sower—having planted some 300,000 seeds in his valley in the Vendée—offers a poetic and personal observation of the plant world. Questioning the principles of rhizome growth, energy and mutation, mobility and metamorphosis, the artist participates, through his own visual vocabulary, in the contemporary scientific debate around plant intelligence and tree communication. “When I draw a tree,” he writes, “I try to put myself in its skin… its bark clothing. I imagine that it has invisible functions, by analogy with our profoundly human behaviors: like us, the tree can move and communicate with others; it can be crazy or wise, hysterical or calm, depending on the context and the environment.”

Picture © Edouard Caupeil.

Alfonso Tostes

Giving form to the words of philosopher Emanuele Coccia, according to whom “there is nothing purely human, the vegetal exists in all that is human, and the tree is at the origin of all experience,” Afonso Tostes (Brazil) creates a series of tools that convey the memory of their former use, transformed into a poetic quest. Here, the carved wooden handles evoke both the bones of the human body and the branches of a tree. The wood becomes material, and in the artist’s hands, extends this analogy.

“Each tool is unique and bears the marks of its use. These handles that I sculpt remind us of the bones of the human body articulated like the branches of a tree to which this wood once belonged. This brings me closer to the people who have made and used them in the past.”

Alfonso Tostes

Picture © Pierre Mouton.

Luiz Zerbini

The experience of a close bond with trees in their daily lives constitutes the primary inspiration of the Brazilian and Paraguayan artists shown in this room, where a forest of trees—observed, admired, and imaginary—stretches before the visitor. Bringing together paintings, monotypes and a table-herbarium, artist Luiz Zerbini (Brazil) orchestrates an imaginary encounter between lush flora and the symbols of Brazilian urban modernity. Attentive to the complex structures and bright colors of plants, and the way in which they grow, the artist composes his canvases based on a rigorous geometric grid, revealing the graphic wealth of the plant world, and providing the spectator with the impression of “being in the painting as you could be in a forest.” He contrasts painting’s long creative process, similar to the growth of a tree, with the spontaneous or accidental process that is at the origin of his monotypes, direct impressions of the leaves, flowers and branches he collects. In the middle of the space stands a table-herbarium, conceived by the artist as a living painting. It incorporates various plant specimens, gathered during his nature walks and carefully selected for their aesthetic qualities.

Moblie version coming soon !!


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