Myriam Mihindou at La Verrière: a therapeutic work in times of crisis

Toute la culture

After Augmented dream tactics, Guillaume Désanges, for his last exhibition at La Verrière, before being replaced by Joël Riff, invites us to heal the world through the curative work of Myriam Mihindou. Title Epidermis, the exhibition encourages us to rethink our relationship to nature, to the living through therapeutic works that remind us of the origins of the world and of language.

Bandage the world

This theme “material to heal” has been that of La Verrière under the direction of Guillaume Désanges for the past four years. The work of Myriam Mihindou is part of this notion. Indeed it is strongly linked to ecology. For her, ecology is a way of working. Since the 90s, this Franco-Gabonese artist has expressed through her works a deep respect for the material throughout the creative process. The human being is a favorite subject for Myriam Mihindou who with her works tries to make her understand that today the latter must collaborate with nature to be the guarantor of its continuation, of its tree structure. Through this immersive exhibition, without a virtual reality helmet but with a real presence of the bodies, the artist wishes to restore the relationship with the living which has been damaged.

Healing works

In 2021 during his exhibition Silo at the Transpalette in Bourges his work had an expiatory function. Once again it offers us a reconnection with the world around us. This goes through spirituality, the theories of care, the transmission of energies. The healing qualities of Myriam Mihindou’s works manifest themselves in the interaction they offer viewers. After putting on overshoes, we are invited to walk both around and on the artist’s works. We can sit, lie down on sheets. The artist sewed the sheets together to form different organic pockets filled with sand, regenerated aquarium quartz.

Art again has a function, a physical use because you can touch the works. The spectator is no longer in contemplation but in sensory experience. In this immersive space, we are in a place of experience where we can smell, feel and physically experience the works. The artist reminds us that we must take care of both our mind and our body, such as the Latin motto ” anima sana in corpore sano“.

The exterior and the interior

This is what the epidermis is, both the outer layer of our skin but at the same time the layer that protects the inside. The papers, infused in tea and hibiscus and hung with fine needles on the walls, seem to sweat, to ooze. They are similar to our skin which the collective influences in a vital way. This notion of interface has been present in the artist’s work since his beginnings. This gives works comparable to “form memories”, the conservation of traces left by nature. In particular, there is great inspiration from lugworms. These are small worms present in the mud. They leave twisted shapes similar to messages, to imaginary writings. By meditating in front of this work the artist invites us to think of another future for the world by having a full awareness of the extent of the living.

Infants

This word, written in large letters on these tea-soaked papers, takes us back to primary times, times when language did not yet exist. Myriam Mihindou has worked a lot on language and especially on etymology since 2008. Latin, which she heard as a child in church, was for her both the language of the settler and that of the sacred. Different cultures give rise to languages. These are transcribed into dictionaries which are forms of civilization fossils.

She allows herself to use the words as incantations. Language becomes magic. Myriam Mihindou does not summon black magic but on the contrary a form of white magic, of shamanism. In a patch of sand we too can give free rein to our imagination. By tracing shapes in the sand we inscribe an oracle. By its mere presence, it records its existence even if it is not understood, translatable.

Epidermisfrom September 29 to December 3, 2022 at La Verrière, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès in Brussels.

Visuals: © Isabelle Arthuis / Hermès Corporate Foundation

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