The precious power of stones

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Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Vue de l’exposition « Le précieux pouvoir des pierres », MAMAC, Nice, 2016
Photo Florian Lévy - © ADAGP, Paris / Droits réservés

Minerals inspire collective curiosity and a sense of wonder. As children and as adults, we’ve all embarked on treasure hunts to collect stones, selecting the most intriguing specimens to arrange in our own private collections of little gems. This appeal swings from the simple curiosity of casual collectors to aesthetic meditation, spiritual or magical belief to scientific experimentation. While the history of how these minerals have been used, depicted or presented still remains to be written, contemporary artists’ taste for minerals is palpable. Some artists use rough stones as up-cycled ready-made pieces, collecting them, arranging them or depicting them, while others carry out experiments on them, transform them and manufacture copies.

Designed as a fully immersive experience, the exhibition intertwined several facets that reflect the various different unique resonances and vibrations that artists have lent these minerals. The exhibition opens with an invitation to embark on a spiritual journey through time and space relativity, kicking off with the imaginary worlds and symbolism triggered by occult phenomena and the great mysteries of nature. Then came the time of collecting and depicting, in which the visitor is transported into a kind of mineralogical cabinet scattered with copies and vanities.

Artists: Marina Abramović, Michel Blazy, George Brecht, James Lee Byars, Pierre-Laurent Cassière, Marion Catusse, Marine Class, Hubert Duprat, Jean Dupuy, Paul Armand Gette, Isabelle Giovacchini, Guillaume Gouerou, Laurent Grasso, Alicja Kwade, Didier Mahieu, Aurélien Mauplot, Éric Michel, Damián Ortega, Ève Pietruschi, Emmanuel Régent, Evariste Richer, Jean-Philippe Roubaud, Bettina Samson, Valentin Souquet.

Exhibition curator:

Rébecca François, conservation officer in MAMAC

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