Longitudes

Reviews of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux

As the ‘4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ exhibition concluded on January 7, 2018, at the CAPC musée in Bordeaux, we finished archiving all the social media posts visitors, the museum and ourselves have published – see our Wakelet feed below – since research phase to the exhibition itself, and below share the most relevant print and online reviews.
Wakelet collection of the "4.543 billion" exhibition.

December 8, 2017: Tom Jeffreys highlighted the exhibition in his "Looking Back: Paris" roundup for frieze magazine – illustrated with two works included in the show by Nicholas Mangan and Alexandra Navratil.

"A little less academic, but no less rigorous, was ‘4,543 milliards’ (4,543 billion), curated by the Barcelona-based Latitudes (co-founded by frieze contributing editor Max Andrews) at CAPC, Bordeaux. Subtitled ‘The matter of matter’, the exhibition provided a material, geological and political response to the building’s former life as a warehouse for colonial commodities and, by extension, the complex entanglement of culture, money, politics and ecological impact. Marble from Trump Tower (Amie Siegel’s "Strata", 2017) was exhibited alongside partially-burnt documents rescued from a fire at the Bordeaux municipal archives and a 1939 mock invitation to the ‘Museum of Standard Oil’, actually MoMA’s new building, issued by the then-publications director, Frances Collins (unsurprisingly fired soon after). Combining archival materials with work by 30 artists, big ideas with specificity and nuance, this was exactly the kind of exhibition I would want to return to again and again. If the selection of the next artistic director the Venice Biennale were a democratic process, I’d be voting for Latitudes."


November 28, 2017Frank Browning, Paris-based Contributor to the Huffington Post author, and former NPR Correspondent, reviewed the recently opened retrospective of Beatriz González and concluded his article with a short mention:

"Meanwhile, around the corner at CAPC there’s an intriguing assembly of stones, papers, paintings, photographs and projections that unite geo-physics, sculpture, and art history, including the conversion of the building itself from a one-time commodities warehouse into its current life as a museum.

Entitled “The Matter of Matter,” [missing "4.543 billion" years, the age of the Earth, and the first part of the exhibition title] it includes the work of 30 artists, assembled and mounted by a Spanish team, Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. They call themselves Latitudes [wrongly published with two "T"]; they aim to excavate the world we inhabit daily, be it through the history indigo mining in Mexico and southern France (vital for fine pottery and coloring bluejeans) or oil extraction in Venezuela, gas infused sculptures or open pit diamond mining in southern Africa. All that we do, all that we eat, all that we create derives from one form of excavation or another. Simple truism as it may seem, Latitudes takes us into the intimacies of our relation with this earth and calls us to meditate on our physical and aesthetic relation to the steadily warming round rock that is our home."




September 20, 2017: Emmanuel Labails of RCF Radio did a 9-minute interview with Pedro Jiménez Morras, Head of Press of CAPC, who discussed the premises of the exhibition and some of its works. (Listen between minute 4:39 and 13:36).

August 19, 2017: Bea Espejo's ‘Cambio de tiempo’, on the Spanish national cultural supplement Babelia, in El País newspaper begins:

˝A ese pensamiento geológico del tiempo conduce la exposición 4.543 millones. La cuestión de la materia en el CAPC de Burdeos. La muestra aborda obras de arte, colecciones e historias culturales con relación a procesos ecológicos y la escala geológica del tiempo. En total, más de 35 artistas que dan valor a las discontinuidades, a las derivas y a las ausencias. La muestra almacena el tiempo como una batería almacena la energía. Y lo hace en varias capas de lectura. Una de ellas es el tiempo que lleva Latitudes, la oficina curatorial de Mariana Cánepa Luna y Max Andrews, trabajando en este proyecto, seguramente el más complejo y ambicioso, aunque esta investigación en torno a las complejas relaciones entre la ecología y el arte contemporáneo está en la base de todos sus proyectos desde 2005. Aquí no pueden ser más rotundos. Abordan la cuestión de la materia desde el lado más inmaterial, que es la memoria. Para ello, estudiaron a fondo el contexto de la ciudad bajo un programa de residencias del museo. Hablamos, pues, de un proyecto de investigación, algo que se traduce en cada pequeño gesto que recoge la muestra, y que lo expande todo. De ahí las relaciones de algunas obras con el departamento de zoología de la universidad (Ilana Halperin), el Museo de Bellas Artes (Stuart Whipps, o el préstamo de Alfred Roll), así como los muchos documentos y objetos que se incluyen de los archivos Métropole, de la Gironde y la colección geológica de la UFR Sciences de la Terre et de la Mer, de la Universidad de Burdeos.˝




July 12, 2017: Catherine Darfay's ‘Le CAPC remonte le temps’ on the local newspaper "Sudouest", was the first feature. The article was illustrated with a with an image showing Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) chartering the daily price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances in the world’s largest carbon market —a changing value documented in this blog post.


RELATED CONTENT:
  • 4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter” exhibition
  • Archive of social networks posts related to "4.543 billion"
  • Photo gallery of the exhibition 
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • Cover Story—December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory" 4 December 2017
  • Alfred Roll's 1878 "The Old Quarryman" exchanged with Alfred Smith's "The Grave Docks" (1884) in the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée 3 November 2017
  • Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth" 1 November 2017 
  • 15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux 24 October 201
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016.
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016

2017 in 12 monthly Cover Stories

Another year has gone by!

Revisit some of Latitudespast–present–future–ongoing projects through our online archive of Monthly Cover Stories, a chance to focus on an artwork, article, event, film, exhibition, excursion or ongoing train of thoughts. 


Cover Story January 2017: "How open are open calls?", 4 January 2017

Cover Story February 2017: "The Dutch Assembly, five years on", 1 February 2017

Cover Story – March 2017: "Time travel with Jordan Wolfson", 1 March 2017

Cover Story – April 2017: "Banff Geologic Time", 3 April 2017

Cover Story – May 2017: "S is for Shale or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps", 1 May 2017 

Cover Story – June 2017: "Moth light—Absent Forms", 1 June 2017
Cover Story – July 2017: "4.543 billion", 3 July 2017 


Cover Story – August 2017: "Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern", 1 August 2017  


Cover Story – September 2017: "Dark Disruption. David Mutiloa's 'Synthesis'", 1 September 2017

Cover Story – October 2017: "Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier", 11 October 2017

Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth", 1 November 2017
Cover Story—December 2017: "Tabet’s Tapline trajectory", 4 December 2017

RELATED CONTENT:
Latitudes' Cover Story archive,
Latitudes' writing archive,
Latitudes' newsletters.

Alfred Roll's 1878 "The Old Quarryman" exchanged with Alfred Smith's "The Grave Docks" (1884) in the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée

“Le Vieux Carrier” [The Old Quarryman] (1878) by Alfred Roll (Paris, 1846–1919). Collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.
Following the conclusion of its four-month loan period, we wave goodbye to “Le Vieux Carrier” [The Old Quarryman] (1878) portrait by Alfred Roll (Paris, 1846–1919) on November 6, 2017. Roll's portrait has been on display since June 29 as part of the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux. In its place we welcome Alfred Smith's (Bordeaux, 1854–Paris, 1936) “Le Quai de la Grave” [The Grave Docks] (1884).

Alfred Smith's (Bordeaux, 1854–Paris, 1936) “Le Quai de la Grave” [The Grave Docks] (1884). Collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.

We are very grateful to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux for agreeing to these wonderful loans. In turn, and in companion to three artworks from 2012–3 exhibited at the CAPC, Birmingham-based artist Stuart Whipps is presenting a new off-site work entitled "Thin Section: Scottish Shale" (2017) in the galleries of the Musée des Beaux-Arts.


(Above and below) Views of Stuart Whipps' "Thin Section: Scottish Shale" (2017) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux. Photo: Latitudes.
Photo: Latitudes.
(Left, floor) Stuart Whipps' "Thin Section: Scottish Shale" (2017) and (right, above) “Le Quai de la Grave” [The Grave Docks] (1884) by Alfred Smith (Bordeaux, 1854–Paris, 1936), painting that will be exchanged on November 6, 2017, with Alfred Roll's “Le Vieux Carrier” [The Old Quarryman] (1878). Photo: Latitudes.

A 0.5mm thick sliver of Scottish Shale rock (a gas-harbouring rock similar to schist) cut from a sample with a diamond saw is treated as if it were a photographic slide by being displayed on a Reflecta AFM 2000 slide projector, a model that has an in-built display monitor. The luminous minerals contained within the shale rock—quartz, calcite, dolomite, feldspars, mica, pyrite...—appear in 1:1 scale.


(Above and below) Views of the exhibition room at the CAPC musée that includes Alfred Roll's portrait. The room includes works by Maria Thereza Alves, Ângela Ferreira, Antoine J. Aalders and Stuart Whipps. Photo: Latitudes/RK. 

Photo: Latitudes/RK.

Photo: Latitudes.

Between 1878 and 1894, Alfred Roll (Paris, 1846–1919) painted a series of Realist works depicting the world of industry, and more pointedly, comprising statements of solidarity with the harsh circumstances of the worker at a time of great social unrest. Representing an elderly quarryman in his smock, “Le Vieux Carrier” [The Old Quarryman] (1878) began this sequence when it was first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1879. It is one of the few Roll portraits whose subject remains anonymous, yet the man depicted was undoubtedly a genuine labourer rather than a model—the artist was later known to welcome miners and their families to sit for portraits in his studio. Is it not known where the man would have been working. Yet given Roll’s later depiction of stonemasons on a quayside in Suresnes, near Paris, (“Le Travail, chantier de Suresnes (Seine)”, 1885), one might speculate that “Le Vieux Carrier” represents both the large-scale infrastructural projects taking place around the capital at the time, as well as the increasing reorganization of the French workforce in the extractive industries through retiring older workers and cutting wages. 

Roll would go on to spend several months living and working in the coal mines of Charleroi, Belgium, and Anzin, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, and he presented the celebrated painting “Grève des mineurs” [Miners’ strike] at the 1880 Salon. Roll seems to have painted from the perspective that exhaustion unfolds through human labour systems as much as through the depletion of raw materials.

(Unframed) Alfred Smith's (Bordeaux, 1854–Paris, 1936) “Le Quai de la Grave” [The Grave Docks] (1884). Collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.
   
“Le Quai de la Grave” [The Grave Docks] (1884) is one of a number of Bordeaux cityscapes by the painter Alfred Smith (Bordeaux, 1854–Paris, 1936) in which the effects of the weather and the time of the day are treated with great fidelity. A mason appears to be sizing-up a large limestone block that has been brought downriver by boat. Other workers take a rest in the shade of the water tank and the sentry box during what appears to be a scorching hot summer afternoon in Bordeaux. The seasonal movement of migrant stonemasons from central France, especially the Creuse département, was an established and widespread feature of the construction industry by the late eighteenth century. Migrants had travelled by foot for centuries, but with the introduction of railways to central France in the 1850s, this began to change. Paris was the main magnet, but many young men also departed every March to look for work in Lyon, Bordeaux, and other cities. 

Until at least the beginning of the twentieth century, construction in France was defined by the cutting, dressing, and placing of stone and the industry would have encompassed a wide range of specialist and physically demanding jobs—from quarrymen to masons, roofers, and pavers. By the time of Smith’s depiction, much of the precision of stone cutting would have been done at the quarry site itself. Finishing, polishing and decoration would have been carried out on site. Building work had started to organize trade unions in the early 1880s and a national building trades’ federation was founded in Bordeaux in 1892.

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‘4.543 billion’ is the contribution of the CAPC musée to the cultural season Paysages Bordeaux 2017

RELATED CONTENT:
  • Archive of social networks related to "4.543 billion"
  • Photo gallery of the exhibition 
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • 15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux 24 October 2017
  • Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth" 1 November 2017
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016.
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016

Cover Story – May 2017: "S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps"

 

The May 2017 Monthly Cover Story "S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps" is now up on www.lttds.org after May it will be archived here.  

"Today, as for millennia, the mighty River Zambezi is crashing over a series of precipitous basalt gorges—a place the Makololo people described as Mosi-oa-Tunya. The smoke that thunders. Since the 1870s, a Scottish stream has been plunging over a diminutive replica, seen in this month’s video Cover Story, located in the gardens of a mansion that is now a country house hotel (by all accounts with an enviable breakfast) in the village of Polbeth, less than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh." Continue reading

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities. 

RELATED CONTENT:
  • Archive of Cover Stories
  • Cover Story – April 2017: Banff Geologic Time 3 April 2017
  • Cover Story – March 2017: Time travel with Jordan Wolfson 1 March 2017
  • Cover Story February 2017: The Dutch Assembly, five years on 1 February 2017
  • Cover Story January 2017: How open are open calls? 4 January 2017
  • Cover Story December 2016: Ten years ago – Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook 5 December 2016
  • Cover Story November 2016: Plucking Gilda, synesthetic Toni and dazzling Víctor 2 November 2016
  • Cover Story October 2016: "A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Gallery, 13 October 2016
  • Cover Story September 2016: "El misterio de Caviria" by Antoni Hervàs 1 Septiembre 2016
  • Last chance to read the August 2016 Monthly Cover Story "Fermínlandia" 31 August 2016

Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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