in the air, the flying machines
hangar y, meudon
22 March 2023 - 10 September 2023

“Since airplanes cover the entire planet, we had to invite artists from all continents, in order to verify how from North to South, from East to West, they have the same fascination and dreams of flight. Not only the contemporary jet-artists who have become tireless travelers, but also the rough artists like André Robillard, Pierre Petit, Giovanni Galli, Giuseppe Barocchi, Jean Smilowski who, amazed by these birds of the air, build, draw and invent in a poetic and obsessive way, small airplanes, sputniks, models, up to conceive like Arthur Vanabelle an airplane farm. Fascinated or terrified, because planes often carry bombs and are therefore linked to war. The exhibition “In the air” thus presents about fifty works of artists, mixing videos, films, installations, paintings, drawings, models and archives.”

Marie-Laure Bernadac, curator of the exhibition

“Nothing will ever equal the moment of hilarity that took hold of my existence, when I felt that I was fleeing from the Earth. {…} Then I gave myself up to the view offered to me by the the great masses of nature and the immensity of the horizon. I contemplated the wave of the air and the earthly vapors that rose from the bosom of the valleys and rivers. In the midst of the inexpressible rapture of this contemplative ecstasy contemplative ecstasy, I was the only body illuminated in the air I saw all the rest of nature nature plunged in the shade {…} I was peacefully questioning peacefully all my sensations. I listened to myself, so to speak.

Jacques Charles, engineer, during his first airship trip on the 1stst December 1783.

The inaugural exhibition is organized by Art Explora, invited by the Hangar Y as part of its sponsorship program. It pays tribute to the primary function of the place by choosing flying machines as its theme. Starting from the universal fascination of the human being for flight and the numerous inventions allowing to reach this objective, the curator of the exhibition Marie-Laure Bernadac, in collaboration with Blanche de Lestrange, focused on the way these means of elevation and transport in the air and their transformations over time have inspired artists. If the beginnings of these innovations could be found as early as the Renaissance in Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches, and the advent of the first flying machines in the nineteenth century inspired the artistic avant-garde of the early twentieth century as much as many rough artists thereafter, it is also about fifty contemporary artworks made during the last three decades that the exhibition brings together here.

Beginning with a drawing of Jules Verne’s great hot air balloon (Jorge Mendez Blake), the exhibition presents a selection of poetic paintings, (Devambez, Spillaert) contemplative or political videos, monumental sculptures playing on the misuse of machines, photographs or models. Dans l’air thus brings together major figures of international artistic creation such as Adel Abdessemed, Doug Aitken, Fiona Banner, Alighiero Boetti, Mircea Cantor, Ali Cheri, Sylvie Fleury, the duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Camille Henrot, Sophie Jung, Robert Longo, Ahmet Öğüt, Laure Prouvost, Shimabuku or Roman Signer, as well as art brut figures such as André Robillard, highlighting their shared interest in the history, technology, form and aesthetics, function or symbolism of these flying objects. The exhibition also highlights fascinating objects and collections around the flying object, planes, airships, collections around the Balloonmania, wind tunnel models, collections of the Museum of Air and Space and archival images to pay tribute to the essential history of this building in aerostation and atraumatic.

to know more about the exhibition: IN THE AIR, THE FLYING MACHINES, Hangar Y, Meudon