Born in Cordoba, Argentina, in 1974, Irene Kopelman lives between Argentina and Amsterdam. She explores exceptional ecosystems around the world in search of an understanding of the mechanisms of the living world. Each new biotope constitutes a specific immersion adventure that is both sensitive (feeling the landscape, its scale, its movements); visual (the entanglement and interdependence of elements) and intellectual (discovering with the scientific teams on site the tools for recording and measuring, understanding the life itself of these ecosystems and their role on a large scale). From his observation phases, series of slender drawings or gouaches, on the edge of abstraction, are then created, whose fragmented motifs evoke so many samples of a landscape. This work “on the motif” and this practice of “post-nature” surveys refer to the explorations of naturalists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fascinated by the cabinets of curiosity, and the multiple planks of minerals and botanical species born of this period of discovery, the artist questions this era of exploration and construction of knowledge, of identification of natural phenomena and methodological trial and error, while confronting it with contemporary ecological issues.
Often, she deliberately focused on extreme landscapes because of their vastness, their enveloping nature and the relative inability to grasp their globality: deserts, jungles, glaciers, etc. From this immensity, she has each time isolated elements that are a priori modest (lichens, leaves, simple sets of lines during the boat’s voyage in Antarctica, etc.), as if to better restore the universe to its components and movements and highlight the vulnerability of ecosystems.
At MAMAC, she presented, for the very first time in France, series created in the tropical forest of Panama in 2014, Project Vertical Landscape, Lianas; a series of drawings on Mangroves created at Bocas del Toro and two large paintings, based on the series of “Banian tree” drawings created especially for the exhibition.
Eighteen drawings from the Crab Pellets series are also presented in the exhibition “Cosmogonies, au gré des éléments” and echoed directly with the contemporary gallery.
Her next field of investigation will focus on marine organisms,… The opportunity to draw a new constellation with scientific communities around the world, first and foremost that of the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer and Université Côte d’Azur,which, with MAMAC, will accompany the artist in this new exploration.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC ; Laura Pippi-Détrey, project manager in MAMAC
With the support of Association des Amis du MAMAC and The Mondriaan Fonds