Acclaimed French artist Cyril de Commarque transforms Saatchi Gallery with a new installation: Artificialis
As part of its special Artist-In-Residency programme, Saatchi Gallery is will present Artificialis a multi-media installation by Cyril de Commarque. Created as a response to Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, which will be displayed at Saatchi Gallery for six months from November to May 2020, de Commarque invites the viewer to contemplate notions of legacy and transition.
Artificialis takes as its starting point the Anthropocene era – the period when man first had an impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems – then looks towards the future, meditating on the effect technology and scientific advancement will have on humankind and the environment.
Says Commarque: ‘We are in essence no different to our earliest ancestors, but Artificial Intelligence has the power to shape us into a markedly different species. One consequence is that the mythologies that have defined us in the past will become obsolete, demanding new ones to replace them.’
The artist invites the viewer to contemplate this new world, starting with the notion that Homo Sapiens will be superseded by a species of its own creation, Homo Artificialis. Rather than portray this in Utopian or Dystopian terms, Commarque interrogates his own feelings through a series of sculptural mise-en-scènes, each piece documenting the transition from one age to another. Located on the Gallery’s second floor, the installation includes sculptures placed around a carpet of multi-coloured flakes.
The four figurative pieces are made from the crudest form of plastic waste, and in sync with the show’s themes have been created by the human hand with the assistance of robotic tools. The sculptures, which include two flower-shaped neons suspended from the ceiling, are standalone works however each is united by a common visual language. The atmosphere is heightened by a sound work created by the artist in collaboration with Toni Castells, itself punctuated by the ignition of a stroboscopic light which randomly flickers into life. Meanwhile, Primitive, is displayed in an adjoining room. Carved from wood, it presents the destructive patterns of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
Says Commarque: ‘Artficilais is a moment, the one in which as artist I perceive the fragility of a time and the incredible and unique shift in human history. This transformation is questioning the process of creation and the basic principle of our ways to exist. It questions our responsibilities and the possible end of a civilisation.’
This is a truly ambitious project that should not be missed, and it will be accompanied by a programme of talks on topics ranging from ecology to architecture arranged by the artist.
About Cyril de Commarque
Cyril de Commarque (b.1970) lives and works in London. de Commarque has had numerous exhibitions including a solo exhibition at MACRO and acclaimed sound performance in London for which he built a 25-meter-long polished/mirrored boat sculpture entitled Fluxland along the river Thames. His works have been featured in prominent group shows at institutions including the Grand Palais, The Foundation Louis Vuitton, the BibliothèqueNationale de France and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini during the Venice Biennale alongside works by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and Ai Weiwei. www.cyrildecommarque.com
Artificialis runs at Saatchi Gallery from 2 November – 1 March 2020 and may be extended.
Saatchi Gallery Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY Second Floor – Gallery 13 Opening times as 10AM – 6PM, Monday – Sunday