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L'avant monde

Dominique Ghesquière
For her exhibition at La Grande Place, musee du Cristal Saint-Louis, Ghesquiere takes us back to the origins of the raw materials of crystal itself, and their transformation in its production process. Leading on from the museum’s visitor itinerary, with its displays of crystal objects, the artist reveals the presence of ferns (whose ashes are a key component of potash), forests, water and fire — as if sprung from the memory of the crystal itself, as reminders of their vital presence.
At La Grande Place, Ghesquière’s raw materials do not occupy the same space as the visitor, the museum floor. Rather, like the crystal wares whose origins they symbolise, they are installed for viewing behind vitrines reminiscent of a vivarium. Eschewing her works’ habitual more tactile, haptic appeal, this unprecedented arrangement invites us to shift our gaze serially from one sculpture to the next, the better to apprehend the natural forces that underpin each stage of the ongoing crystal-making process in the workshop adjoining the museum. Recalling the words of the 18th-century French chemist, philosopher and economist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”, and inspired directly by land art, Ghesquière’s interventions both remind and reveal to us the true, material and territorial “nature” of crystal in a work of delicate archaeology, poetically ringed with light
The Foundation stages two exhibitions per year at La Grande Place, devoted to new work in contemporary art with a focus on artisan expertise. Each event is part of a themed series of three consecutive exhibitions devised in collaboration with cultural institutions from the Lorraine region, with the support of the Cristallerie Saint-Louis.

Following the first and second series, curated respectively by the Centre Pompidou-Metz and 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine (the Lorraine regional fund for contemporary art, based in Metz), the Foundation has commissioned the Centre for Contemporary Art – La Synagogue de Delme, in the French department of Moselle, to curate the third series of exhibitions. Under the title “L’héritage des secrets” (“Legacy of secrets”), the Synagogue de Delme presents a series of three solo exhibitions engaging with the historical and architectural heritage of the Saint-Louis crystal foundry, and the workshop’s human, aesthetic and technical history over four centuries.
Dominique Ghesquière, Passage, 2013, fougères. Vue de l’exposition « Terre de profondeur », CIAP – Île de Vassivière, 2013. Courtesy de l’artiste. Photo : Aurélien Mole
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