PARIS+ PAR ART BASEL
JARDIN DES TUILERIES, PARIS, FRANCE
18 OCTOBER – 11 NOVEMBER 2023
Internationally renowned Swiss artist Claudia Comte, has long been inspired by nature. Her studies of flora and fauna from different environments has resulted in magnificent sculptures in the form of cacti, corals and leaves. Comte's FIVE MARBLE LEAVES is installed at the Jardin des Tuileries on the occasion of Paris+ par Art Basel, supported by the gallery Albaran Bourdais. The work consists of five gently outlined leaf shapes that seem to float on the surface of the water. The gravity of the marble is barely noticeable and its elegance is accentuated by the reflection of the water.
The installation’s spatial language embodies the fabulous world of trees, reflecting the seasonal cycle of leaves that fall in autumn and grow back in spring. The shape of the leaves were developed during the artist’s intensive study of various oak species. “The sculptures that make up FIVE MARBLE LEAVES have the scale and magnitude of trees,” Comte said. “The leaf forms are magnified to monumental proportions. This installation is a representation of the living beings not being paid enough attention like the marine life hidden in the depths of our oceans or fallen leaves taken by an autumnal breeze.”
The installation encourages the viewer to think about the forest and highlights the often overlooked wonder of nature. Moreover, it not only alludes to the beauty of nature but also points to the critical state of the environment and the effects of accelerating global warming. Additionally, marble plaques are embedded into the ground in dialogue with the sculptures. They are engraved with quotes inspired by contemporary and historical figures known for their environmental activism such as Jane Goodall, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Greta Thunberg, and Paul Watson highlight the interdependence of humans on nature and the magnitude of the environmental crisis.
Claudia Comte’s practice is guided by a longstanding interest in teasing out the history and memory of biomorphic forms through traditional hand processes, industrial and machine technologies. To create her sculptures, Comte works with wood from a sustainably sourced tree. Initially, she shapes the wood with a chainsaw and meticulously sands it until achieving a smooth finish. The wooden sculpture can be adapted on a larger scale and be transferred into marble. The creative journey starts with the artist’s hand and progresses through an industrial fabrication process, culminating in the skilled hands of stone carvers who polish the Carrara marble. This entire process symbolizes the remarkable transformation of Carrara marble itself, originating from once-living microorganisms that underwent calcification over thousands of years.