Stéphanie Brossard

L’intraitable beauté de nos vies sauvages #2

Wild is the Wind

29 October 2021 – 30 January 2022

Stéphanie Brossard’s exhibition presented at the Collection Lambert as part of the RENDEZ-VOUS, Inside the Basement program forms the second instalment of her project titled L’intraitable beauté de nos vies sauvages #2 (Wild is the Wind), initiated in 2020 at the FRAC Réunion. It is envisaged as a narrative, both real and imagined, of a life made up of journeys back and forth between the island territory of its origins and history, and a European continent understood not as an obligatory path for personal fulfilment, but as a sounding board for questions about (a) multiple, hybrid, and mutant identity / identities. 

Indeed, it is only once she has left her native island that the artist delves into her childhood, where the memory of sensations and of relationships with the beings and elements of nature is inscribed in a delicate confrontation with the natural perturbations that punctuate the island dwellers’ daily life. Cyclones, eruptions, and earthquakes are the cornerstone of an identity that constructs itself in rhythm with the foretold chaos and the repeated actions of her parents to enable life to continue its course. A mother who tirelessly fills the bathtub to store drinking water, a father who intervenes in the construction of the family home so that it will withstand disaster: these are just some of the ways of coping that are deployed across the world of islands and zones at risk of natural hazards, and that recall the pages – on the other side of the world, on the edge of the Atlantic – of Jesmyn Ward’s famous Bois Sauvage. 

In the basement rooms of the Collection Lambert, entirely cut off from the real world and bathed in an artificial light like that of Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, a journey is constructed in which the intimate and the universal mingle: earth collapses from a table to the rhythm of the earth’s seismic activity, a bathtub fills on the announcement of imminent cyclones, volcanic rocks invade the ground on moving boards, to reveal the artist’s relationship (ours) with space and time in natural and fragile territories where beauty is as intractable as the violence of the elements. Marble erupts to form archaeological landscapes and assemblages of precious objects featuring offerings and contemplative objects. These share the space with videos of incandescent lava flows and figures clambering on volcanoes, and installations made of jewellery mimicking slave chains, or glass flacons enclosing the life of oceans like suspiciously beautiful luxury perfume.

All tell, with extraordinary audacity, of the latent tension in the relationship between an individual and the creole territory that she confronts. They recall the first aggression, forced cultural integration, the violence of uprooting. But in a poetic gesture made of skilful appropriations and unrestrained diversions, Stéphanie Brossard imposes the deconstruction of common narratives, the creolisation of forms and thoughts, the only way to invent the identity and culture to come. 

Such is the violent wandering of the poem.1

Curator : Stéphane Ibars

1Édouard Glissant, Introduction à une poétique du divers, Gallimard, 1996, p. 71