Mar Wahl and Komorebi
Author: Boris Raux
Mar Wahl - 2018
Born in the North of France my personal and inner culture is the starting point for this project which I have titled Mar Wahl.
My family were mainly factory workers and by marriage also became farmers. My native environment consists of small industrial towns surrounded by cottage landscapes, houses, farms and factories. They are all built in red brick. Red is my colour. It is also the colour of the famous local cheese Maroilles (pronounced Mar Wahl).
Nowadays the industry is gone, the elderly have passed away, and the youngest have gone but the bricks are still there. Only the farm, La Ferme du Pont des Loups, is still active, where they produce the iconic Maroilles cheese. Maroilles is a very stinky cheese but it is smoother in the mouth than on the nose. Its strong smell might force some to be reluctant to eat it but if you are keen on dairy products, or born in Northern France, you will know well that this strong smell is balanced by its delicious taste.
Maroilles cheese plays an important role as part of Northern France olfactory identity. We usually develop a Freudian relationship based on a love/hate feeling which is why I chose to develop a project specifically based on this cheese. It goes beyond local history to reflect upon all that we deal with, our inner contradictions a part of how we acquire our value criteria.
The shape of each of the Maroilles cheeses in this exhibition reflect the local architecture, recreating a picturesque landscape of emotions relating to Northern France.
Komorebi (light through the trees) - 2017
A carpet made with hiking shoes laces, my hiking shoes, pine wood trucks, IR lamp, fan, pine honey, immersive headphone, sound of the forest and smell of forest undergrowth.
Komorebi is an immersive art installation that offers an escape from the urban and noisy exhibition context. It works in opposition to the stress that one feels. Through a multi-sensorial approach this installation seeks to bring each visitor to the middle of a forest to have some rest and quietness. Jeanne Goutelle, a textile artist, created the carpet with shoe laces, recreating the softness of moss that contrasts with the hard concrete floor of the exhibition space.
A stick of pine honey includes a taste of the forest while an IR Lamp gives the feeling of a warm sun on your face. The wind of a small fan skims your legs and a sound recording projects the visitor between the cracking of the trees and the birds singing. Finally, one can smell the fragrance designed by Laurence Fanuel that reminds you of the forest undergrowth: a mixed of humidity, mushrooms, leaves and humus.
Initially, from a visual perspective, this installation looks artificial and human made. It does not try to mimic nature's appearance but seeks to re-enact all the sensorial inputs that one can have in a forest. As soon as you lie down and close your eyes you feels sufficiently comfortable to escape from your everyday worries through the power of smell.
Nevertheless, the sounds of mosquitoes occasionally heard on the accompanying soundtrack remind you that « The Call of the Wild » is not always an easy-going experience. Humans might be desperately weak when they have to face nature for real. This immersive installation tries to achieve a balance between true feelings and artificial forms reminding us to accept the poetry of art but not to fall into the dead-end of a romanticized reality.