This is a navy as can be found in all the flea markets of both sides of the Atlantic : a watery landscape, and edenic, the colour palette fresh, contained a pre-columbian America. As if we were there… But if you were there, you’d notice that this picture stinks. The artist mexican Minerva Cuevas has plunged this old landscape in the tar, one of many by-products of oil intensively exploited in the Yucatan peninsula.
In his series “Hidrocarburos” begun in 2006, it analyses the effects of this product on the area. The lingering waves were licking the shore responded, and now another, black, apocalyptic, pervasive in both the table and its out-of-frame. The work is meant to be the metaphor of the engluement of the people and of the environment in fossil fuels, but it also raises the question of what can art in the face of this fact : to denounce, yes, but the tubes of modern paintings, are they not also products of petroleum, and tables designed to feed a market of art unbridled ?
Revolution of the forms
The work of Minerva Cuevas is part of what experts are now calling “ecological art” : a trend that, since the gestures of the pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s, such as those of Gina Pane or Robert Smithson, has grown up to be a specific field. Paul Ardenne, art historian and critic, has attempted to paint the panorama of this revolution in terms of forms and artistic thought in his book, art ecological. Creating artist and the anthropocene (The Edge of the water, 304 p., 27 euros).
The works which support his thinking is committed to rethinking the modes of artistic production (down from a Olafur Eliasson, whose work Ice Watch exposed during the COP21 had a carbon footprint disastrous), to renew the places of art (number of works that take place in the heart of…