MAMAC / Artist in residency : Irene Kopelman


Irene Kopelman, Underwater Workstation, DiabloRosso Gallery, Panama, 2016 ; Photo: Raphael Salazar

Since winter 2019, Irene Kopelman is in residency in the Nice area, observing and studying tiny invertebrate marine creatures – a subject seldom treated by artists. IK and scientists at the marine station IMEV (Institut de la Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France) and IRCAN (Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, in Nice (France) are developing a project that highlights crucial organisms in the tree of life and evolution, shedding precious light on this marine world, a true mirror of today’s ecological and health challenges.

Irene Kopelman has been driven for years by the conviction that science and art share a common stake in knowledge based on practice. Of Argentinean origin, based in Amsterdam, she explores the world’s exceptional ecosystems seeking to understand the mechanisms of the living world.

Since 2005, she has conducted numerous research residencies in collaboration with natural history museums, geological collections (London, Amsterdam), natural parks (Hawaii) or laboratories such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama or the Manu Learning Center in the Peruvian forest, observing their field work before initiating her own subject of study and representation protocol – essentially drawings or watercolours.

Since her first visit to Nice in late 2017 to prepare her solo exhibition at the MAMAC (summer 2018), contacts were initiated to inscribe her research in the fertile territory of marine studies and the unique Mediterranean ecosystem surrounding Nice. The encounter with the Villefranche-sur-mer Developmental Biology Laboratory (LBDV), and the IRCAN (Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, in Nice) together with the support of the Université Côte d’Azur (Advanced Research Program – IDEXJedi), gave a decisive turn to events, making this adventure possible at the crossroads between scientific research and artistic experimentation.

Since winter 2019, Irene Kopelman observes and studies tiny marine invertebrates of the cnidarian family (corals, sea anemones, jellyfish) and ascidians and in particular Nematostella and Botryllus, the sea anemone Nematostella with its translucent body and Botryllus that forms colonies of clones with floral shapes. The research focus of the two laboratories is the regenerative capacity of these two creatures and the study of the factors of their longevity, with prospects for medical applications in the future.

Irene Kopelman, Test Drawings Botrylle, Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement de Villefranche-sur-Mer (LBDV), 2020
Irene Kopelman, Test Drawings Nematostella, Institut de Recherche sur le Cancer et le Vieillissement de Nice (IRCAN), 2020
Irene Kopelman, GreenFolder
Irene Kopelman, Test Drawings Nematostella, Institut de Recherche sur le Cancer et le Vieillissement de Nice (IRCAN), 2020

This residency is conducted at the Institute for Research on Cancer and Ageing in Nice (IRCAN) – Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, INSERM; Villefranche-sur-mer Developmental Biology Laboratory (LBDV) from the Institut de la mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer (IMEV), Sorbonne University, CNRS ; with the support of Université Côte d’Azur and with the invaluable assistance of d’Eric Röttinger (IRCAN) and Stefano Tiozzo (LBDV).

« This work is granted by the French Government through Agence Nationale de la Recherche and within the frame of the project : Investissements d’Avenir UCAJEDI referred as n° ANR-15-IDEX-01 »

Irene Kopelman is born in 1974 in Cordoba, Argentina, She lives and works in Amsterdam. She is repesented by LABOR gallery, Mexico.

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