Les Arbrorigènes (Tree people)
Pourtalès Park – Strasbourg
Half camouflaged in summer by the thickness of the vegetation, these figures are even more difficult to spot because they are at one with Nature. Their epidermis is vegetal, so these sculptures blend with the colours of the surrounding space through mimicry. Here the viewer is invited to a veritable discovery, a prowess of natural aestheticism and sophistication.
The artist’s artistic approach lies perhaps beyond a personal contribution to a literary and artistic trend existing since Antiquity which associâtes, like Ovid in the Metamorphoses, the human and the vegetal in a symbolic or even fantastical relationship through transformation or hybridisation. Indeed, Ernest Pignon Ernest wanted to poetically fix photosynthesis itself, the complex process essential to all plant and human life which transforms solar light into chemical energy :
“I grasp and offer a phenomenon of Nature in action”.
These anthropomorphic plant sculptures then follow the passage of time. During the day, the tree people produce oxygen through the intermediary of chlorophyl, from micro-algae placed on polyurethane foam which constitutes the carnal body of each one, thanks to a device developed with the invaluable help of scientist Claude Gudin. At night, they breathe like any human being by absorbing oxygen and exhaling carbon gas : like Pygmalion, the artist has breathed life into his sculptures. Ernest Pignon-Ernest combines the rigour of biological performance with the aptness of an artistic gesture.
1988 – micro-algae, polyurethane foam – height : 1.80 m