After the Centre Pompidou-Metz, 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine became the second regional cultural institution to be invited to curate a series of exhibitions at La Grande Place, Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis in Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche.
Entitled “Rêve d’obscur. Au Pays des Étoiles terrestres” (‘Dark Dreaming: In the Land of Earthly Stars’), the inaugural exhibition of the series was conceived as an invitation to travel. Throughout the ages, humans have always studied and mapped the sky, its stars and its constellations, as well as the Earth, its mountains and its oceans. The works featured in this exhibition, drawn from the collections of 49 Nord 6 Est or produced by artists for the occasion, offered a variety of sensitive responses to scientific and geographic data. A loss of bearings (Neal Beggs, Éric Poitevin), spiritual experiences (Barbara & Michael Leisgen, Charwei Tsai), working on the moon (Bill Henson), and measures of the world itself (Benoît Billotte, Jingfang Hao & Lingjie Wang, Katrin Ströbel) offer an array of propositions through which we might reinterpret our environment.
“Over the Rainbow”, the series’ second instalment, offered a weather forecast suffused with poetry. Scientists, amateurs and craftspeople joined artists to unveil the secrets of time in an exhibition that went far beyond the usual terrain of contemporary art. Playing with their virtuosity and their technical knowledge, participants proposed works that were immaterial (Jingfang Hao & Lingjei Wang, Benoît Billotte), collective (Yona Friedman) or serially produced, such as Épinal prints or a number of objects created by CIAV – Meisenthal. Some of the creations on show were not originally conceived for exhibition, such as Bravais’s theodolite and the Observations météorologiques of André des Gachons. Blurring the boundary between works of art and the productions of everyday life, the exhibition offered a deconsecrated vision of art.
The final exhibition of the series was dedicated to a major participative project based around the stories and the lives of several “arweider” (a term meaning “workers” in the local dialect, Platt). Over the course of ten months, Lorraine artists Anne Delrez (b. 1971, France) and Julie Luzoir (b. 1986, France) met with craftspeople from the region’s glass and crystal workshops. In the intimacy of these craftspeople’s homes, the artists led a series of discussions before inviting each participant to contribute their life stories, objects, photographs, medals and drawings to the exhibition. A sound work that drew on the numerous stories collected by the artists complemented the objects on display, for a presentation that shed precious light upon the stories and tastes hidden in the workshops of the Lorraine region.