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France – Paris

Post humana 

“Make people think,” “make them laugh” and “make them dream”: these are the three aims of Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin, who have been working together since 1991 in the explosive duo Art Orienté Objet. A shock duo willingly provocative, “committed to biodiversity and ecology”, they have made humour and causticity their main weapons. Using hybridisation and discrepancy – a “complex aesthetic” at once “endearing and repulsive, exciting and disturbing” playing “the role of heart-catcher” – they have put their art at the service of the animal and plant cause. After the Domaine de Chamarande, it’s at Les Filles du Calvaire gallery that they invite us to “awaken our consciences” and question “our conditions of existence”.


Art Orienté Objet, Paysage microbiotique, 2016 © Les filles du calvaire

Their Giant Microbiotic Landscapes (2016) are designed to raise our awareness of the dangers of antibiotics, giving us a large-scale view of their innards! At the frontiers of art and science, like much of their research blending fiction and biotechnology, these intestinal landscapes, theatricalised by their enlargement but also by the fluorescence of the rare stones, sponges and algae used to mimic the microscopic forms of the colonising bacteria, plunge us into confusion.

Combining strangeness, beauty and triviality, they provoke both fascination and repulsion. Following in the footsteps of Alexander Fleming, physician and biologist, author of “germ paintings”, and Wassily Kandinsky, who, when ill, was fascinated by the macrophotography of cells and tissues, we find ourselves fascinated by our threatened interiors, a few millimetres of intestine evoking some fabulous seabed…


Art Orienté Objet, Hydra Post-humana, 2021 © Les filles du calvaire

More disruptive is Hydra post-humana (2021), the skeleton of a fantastic three-headed animal from a “post-human future marked by ecological catastrophe”. The duo’s macabre fantasies are on display here, as they regularly invent fabulous creatures from the crossbreeding of different species. A case in point is the centaur skeleton they cobbled together following a shamanic experience among the Babongo pygmies of Gabon, during which each of them saw himself as an animal (je me suis vue, j’étais un centaure; Je me suis vu, j’étais une girafe).

Art Orienté Objet, BAUréalis, 2023 © Les filles du calvaire

Adherents of slow art, whose manifesto they wrote in 1992, the two troublemakers use only “recycled, renewable or sustainable materials that do little harm to the environment” and develop artisanal techniques. Avoiding the use of plastic or 3D printers so commonly used in contemporary art. They collect all manner of animal bones and remains from forests, roadsides and lakes – remains that gave rise in 2000 to a poignant “coat of crushed animals”, the Roadkill Coat. A horrifying tableau echoing their funereal landscape of deforestation (Résilience, 2009).

Stéphanie Dulout

“Object-oriented art – I’m against it!  

Les Filles du calvaire 

21, rue Chapon, Paris 3e 

Until July 29, then from September 1 to 23, 2023