Des herbes folles 2021

For the past two years, the artist has been collecting motifs testifying to the ways in which natural resources are exploited in France and Germany. His drawing entitled Open Pit Mine shows us, with a attention to detail close to miniature, the pharaonic-sized excavations in the open pit mine of Hambach, North Rhine-Westphalia.

What at first glance appears to be a vast rocky canyon turns out to be an area devoid of any vegetation, its soil and geology having been destroyed by monstrous excavators in order to reach the deep layers of profit-generating lignite. The white line that runs through this polyptych appears to be the signature of this disastrous intrusion into our environment. The mine, the largest lignite extraction site in Central Europe, which alone is responsible for a large part of Germany’s CO2 emissions, is exploited to the detriment of one of the last primary forests in Germany, that of Hambach. A small reserve of woodland has been saved thanks to the stubborn occupation of environmental activists for several years.

In his sketchbooks, the artist has multiplied the drawings that capture the various aspects of this forest territory, located just opposite the coal-mining area. Broader perspectives alternate with fragmentary views of plants growing freely and communicating with each other. Through the slow and immersive appropriation of these motifs, the artist expresses his respect and admiration for this impressive nature, which it is our responsibility to protect.

Viktoria von der Brüggen, PhD in art history, independent curator, January 2021