Vincent Fournier, Uchronie, Solo Show, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France

11/04/2023 — 17/09/2023

Uchronie exhibition talks about our relationship to nature and technology in an alternative version of history. What if life on earth had evolved differently? What if animals were gifted with poetry? What if we walked on Mars while remaining on Earth? Relating facts as they could have happened, an uchrony designates a fictional reconstruction of history. Thus titled, the exhibition is visited as many disturbing parallel stories. What if?

Driven by the most representative utopias of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as space adventure or the reinvention of life, the French photographer and artist Vincent Fournier reveals what he calls “slivers of the future” in the past or the present, inventing stories that are both fantastic and believable.

Vincent Fournier belongs to a generation lulled by science fiction and stories of anticipation promising a future turned towards other worlds.

Drawing his inspiration from scientific and technological innovations, the artist realizes his childhood dreams with the help of sophisticated digital techniques that he applies to images as well as to sculpture. He willingly seeks the confusion, the floating and the strange beauty of the in-between.

Two major themes run through the exhibition: space and augmented nature.

Between dream and reality, the Space Utopia series (2007-23), still in progress, questions the habitability of extraterrestrial landscapes. With the agreement of Nasa, Vincent Fournier follows astronauts on their training grounds, in the American desert of Utah, in the Atacama in Chile, as well as in Iceland, whose relief and environment resemble those of the Moon or Mars.

As the artist reminds us, “My fascination for space comes from films and television series, science fiction novels that are mixed and superimposed in my memory, such as an unlikely meeting between Jacques Tati and Jules Verne in the space station of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, A Space Odyssey.”

The museography of the exhibition room evokes this SF staple where eras telescope and associate.

The photographic series Post Natural History (2012-23) and Auctus animalis (2022-) put into perspective the metamorphoses of living beings and the evolution of species. Before our eyes, there is no monster, chimera or hazardous creature recreated by a science gone mad because Vincent Fournier never abandons poetry. The viewer will have to scrutinize the image, track down the subtle detail to grasp what makes the animal an augmented specimen with new qualities.

Even more spectacular are the outgrowths of Fleurs de chair (2013) and the curls of Flora Incognita (2023). These intriguing and marvelous digital flowers give us a glimpse of the possible and infinite transformations of the plant.

Deployed throughout the museum, some sixty works, photographs, sculptures, video, mosaic, jewelry, 3D printing, dialogue with the permanent collection.

At the heart of this extra-ordinary museum, Uchronie invites the visitor to embark alongside Vincent Fournier in stories and journeys beyond reality.

Short biography

Born in 1970 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Vincent Fournier is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles, he also studied sociology and cinema at the University of Montpellier. He now lives between Paris and Arles. His works are part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the LVMH collections and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. In 2022, he is the winner of the Swiss Life 4 Hands Prize.

Curator: Christine Germain-Donnat, chief curator and director of the museum.

The exhibition runs from 11th April until 17th September at Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Hôtel de Mongelas, 62, rue des Archives, 75003 Paris.

More information: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, @museechasseetnature

With the support of Fondation Sommer.