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As part of the 10th edition of the Biennale Hors-Normes on the theme “The time has come…”, the Palais Saint-Jean (Lyon - France) is pleased to welcome Michèle-Amélie Favre (aka Sensartistik) for its exhibition “L’(H)ALU!”, from September 5 to December 16, 2023.

If the imprint of time does not exist on aluminum, infinitely and 100% recyclable without alteration of its properties, the time has come to restore its letters of nobility to this metal which was valued as much as the gold and silver at the end of the 19th century, and whose virtues make it a precious ally that is still molded into ingots. The work of the French artist contributes to raising awareness among the general public of the knowledge of aluminum and its use in contemporary art, in different forms, transforming the Palais Saint-Jean into an “Alu-Lab” for the duration of the exhibition.

Michèle-Amélie Favre, why aluminum?

The reasons are diverse. The first being my interest, for many years, in this metal whose brilliance, lightness, malleability give it exceptional potential within the framework of my artistic practice to which I give a new dimension thanks to the Biennale Hors-Normes and at the Palais Saint-Jean which allow me to explore it in different facets, with a constant search for innovation which characterizes me. At the same time, I wanted to contribute to public awareness around aluminum and its numerous daily uses: packaging for consumer products, mobility (automotive, aeronautics, railway, bicycle industries), housing and construction. the stars! Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, aluminum has been the material of choice for all types of space structures. Finally, my Savoie roots in the Maurienne valley have maintained a privileged link with the production of aluminum, the Pechiney factory in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne having been established in 1907. As such, this exhibition is also a tribute to my ancestors and to my father in particular, a rooting in contact with the worked and sculpted material. Transforming matter is part of a work of self-transformation.

You present works made from recycled aluminum, including a monumental installation: can you tell us more about this choice?

“The time has come...”: this is both the theme of this 10th Biennale in which I am participating and a call to action in the context of the ecological transition. How do we view and value recycling today? What are the levers to develop and optimize it? Aluminum has the quality of being able to be recycled infinitely, knowing that recycling uses 5% of the energy necessary for the production of primary aluminum. This raises questions about current and future means to promote this emerging sector.
From an artistic point of view, working from recycled metal is an act in favor of sustainability and a way of sublimating grace in what could be considered unsightly or to be destroyed, of (re)giving life and a new use for what could not be worthy of interest. See the beauty in the indifferent and in the different. This is also the objective of this monumental installation entitled “Oeuvre 202” and which aims to be extraordinary, to use the name of this Biennale: 202 aluminum strips of 3 meters long on a 24-meter length, hung on more 8 meters high, covering the longest part of the main room of the Palais Saint-Jean. An invitation to look up to seek the light.

What does the (H) mean in the title of your exhibition “L’(H)ALU”?

The Hour has come for Hallucination around aluminum, in the sense of the improbable character and obviously the illusion. In my artistic research, I like to create emotions through visual sensations, I invite the viewer to discover the unknown. What do you see when contemplating the reflections of light on the aluminum strips or when observing the different works? What details interest you? I believe in the effects of art to develop the art of attention which is sorely lacking at the moment. Take the time to look, to question, to digress. Allow yourself to see differently.

What are your artistic inspirations?

Always avant-garde and innovators! John Chamberlain, Robert Rauschenberg, Simon Hantaï, among others. But also architects such as Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Le Corbusier, Tadao Andō...

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