Concert pour une nouvelle Forêt
Guillaume Barth belongs to those artists who like to tell stories, tales that gain meaning through time, that open up to a sensitive imaginary world from just a handful of acorns picked in a German forest near Stuttgart, in the fall of 2016.
Laureate of the last Bullukian Foundation prize, Guillaume Barth, born in 1985 in Alsace, offers until July 27th a unique immersive experience in the new spaces of the institution located in Lyon.
Guillaume has the patience of observing the details of the living matter, and to him this immediately sparks off the initial intuition for a future work to be built, nurtured by encounters and fruitful collaborations with other disciplines.
During a residence at the Künstiftung Bade-Württenberg with the French Institute of Stuttgart and the CEAAC Strasbourg, and more specifically during a walk in the forest where the artist meditates and clears his head, Guillaume Barth discovers, following a period of unusual climate changes, one hundred forty eight sprouting acorns that he decides to save from the frost and plant in his studio. The meticulous and attentive observation of these budding creatures inspired him to investigate and observe the way trees communicate among themselves, with the world and the energies that surround them. He reads to them out loud, lulls them with music and vibrations and takes note on their reactions and the evolution of each one of these trees. Personalities form, each unique, so much so that the artist gives them each a name. Some trees develop affinities in the same way humans do.
Around this “Baumschule” (nursery in German) will grow the ambitious project of an innovating musical composition, a music written “by and for the trees” and within the definition of the modalities of transmission of this work. And thus shapes up an evolving work titled “Concert pour une nouvelle forêt” (Concert for a new forest), created in close collaboration with composer Thibault Bru and pianist Neus Estarellas.
The new, bright exhibition space of the Bullukian Foundation complements the first one and allows to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Guillaume Barth’s studio/laboratory, among sketches and a multitude of notes, quotes, herbariums, musical sheets, video projections and sounds of part of the musical piece that will be composed, in the end, of four movements, each corresponding to a season of the life of these trees. Between these two rooms, the garden hosts the installation of the 124 oak trees which, in their judiciously placed pots, have surrounded and danced around Neus Estarellas during the inaugural concert on the opening night, at the beginning of June, during a wind storm.
The trees of this artwork should be replanted in the course of the year 2021 and will never be cut. They will continue to grow, communicate, feel and quiver through the ages, by their own intelligence.
Other works by Guillaume Barth are also on display, illustrating his taste for travels and projects thought out beyond borders and oceans, including the very beautiful images of “Elina” that the artist developed in the salt desert of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia in 2015. This formidable human adventure gives life, this time, to an ephemeral white planet, an encounter with matter, gesture and light.
Guillaume Barth’s projects are ambitious; they touch different parts of the body, heart and mind. It seems to me it would be difficult for just the objects of this exhibition to contain their substance. The universes he creates deserve time. They require a closer look. You must travel inside them, have them resonate inside yourself, with even more depth.