Fondation Carmignac presents The Imaginary Sea

What would the ideal sea be and what would it be made of? How do humans interact with the organic aquatic world?

Running until 17th October 2021, Villa Carmignac in the beautiful island of Porquerolles, in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, features one of the strongest exhibitions presented in the South of France this summer season. The Imaginary Sea explores some of these interrogations and takes John Berger’s quote “The animal possesses secrets which, unlike the secrets of caves, mountains and seas, specifically address humankind.” as a starting point.

Curated by L.A-based writer, gallerist and explorer Chris Sharp, the exhibition resonates with the slick architecture of the space and brings together modern and contemporary artists such as Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Dora Maar, Henri Matisse, Gabriel Orozco and Mathieu Mercier to name a few. Spanish artist Miquel Barceló enveloped the space with an immersive installation that metaphorically ‘brings’ visitors underwater.

Looking at defining and understanding the sea, the exhibition explores the “artificial sea,” transformed by man and populated by fake species that have emerged from chemical waters and the “lost sea,” where a fictive future museum of natural history unfolds, bringing together archival animals that no longer exist except in people’s imaginations.

The artists, photographers, and thinkers on view brilliantly examine the relationships between civilization and nature, and looks at how the sea’s immensity continues to fascinate human’s spirit. The Imaginary Sea inherently and subtly raises awareness on the current climate catastrophe without alarming more. A must-see (sea) exhibition.

Image: ‘The Imaginary Sea’, 2021, exhibition view, Villa Carmignac, Pourquerolles. Courtesy: Fondation Carmignac, Pourquerolles; photography: Marc Domage