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Joana Vasconcelos, an eminent Portuguese artist committed to social issues, offers the public monumental landscapes, with surprising forms, textures and rhythms. One of her Valkyries, a sculpture made of textile materials, will welcome you at the Lille Flandres train station, while others will be presented at the Maison Folie Wazemmes.  

The Moss People, by the Finnish sculptor Kim Simonsson, form a utopian and marvelous decor. The 10 elves of La Rambla (rue Faidherbe), will plunge you into the heart of the Metsä, these vast Nordic forests. You will find these artists and many others in Le Jardin d’Eden, the exhibition presented in the Maisons Folie of Lille, which will highlight the search of artists and humans for a better world.  

Moss People, Kim Simonsson

14 may — 02 october 2022

Kim Simonsson Moss People

Moss People literally means “people made of moss.” These sculptures evoke an imaginary world, often peopled by fairy-like figures, straight from Nordic tales, in which small beings live in harmony with nature. There is still something mystical and unknown about the origins of these independent beings, which feeds the mystery that surrounds them. They are described as wild children, in a close-knit gang, living at the heart of nature and aspiring to a utopian vision for it. 

Simone, Joana Vasconcelos

14 may — 02 october 2022

Simone, a gigantic sculpture in organic form, arises above Lille Flandres train station, and hangs, suspended over our heads. This Valkyrie, was initially produced for the Bon Marché Rive Gauche in 2019, has been adapted for Utopia. lille3000 and has now grown to an unprecedented scale, extending the length of the station. The whole structure, which has been entirely hand-made from wool, selected fabrics and LED, sits on a vast 40-metre long inflatable which communicates with the surrounding space. The piece is a tribute that Joana Vasconcelos, known for her monumental creations, pays to three leading French female figures: Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), Simone Veil (1927- 2017) and Simone Hérault (1950), the actress known as the voice of the SNCF, the French national rail company, for 40 years. 

Find other works by Joana Vasconcelos in The Garden of Eden at the Maison Folie in Wazemmes

La Maison du Maxitos, Jean-François Fourtou

14 maY — 02 october 2022

Always seeking to reason with the child inside us, Jean- François Fourtou conjures up worlds beyond our imagination, suggesting a narrative of memory. 

The Nanitos, in the fairy tales he told his daughter, are small characters that live underground. “They moved around so quickly that we couldn’t ever see them as they hurried down to their underground labyrinths”. 

The House of Maxitos is a double scale reproduction of a small house. It is reminiscent of a cabin from another age, out of a fairy tale. The house appears incongruous among the traditional brick houses in the heart of Old Lille. A Maxitos, with a giant pumpkin head, stands in the center of the Îlot Comtesse, standing in front of his house. Carried by the universe “half-magical, half-memorial on the theme of childhood”, it stands as a hymn to cheerfulness. Prepare yourself to pass the lair of the giant Maxitos.  

Visitors are invited to climb up on a bench outside to look inside through the window. They can also pay a visit and experience the intimacy of a childhood memory. 

Visit inside of Maison du Maxitos
SAT & SUN : 10H À 18H

Entidades, Jaider Esbell

14 may— 02 october 2022

Jaider Esbell was an artist and writer of the indigenous Macushi people of South America. Until his death in late 2021, the artist played a central role in the movement to recognise contemporary indigenous art, acting in a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary way, combining the roles of artist, curator, writer, educator, activist and many others. 

Jaider Esbell’s work intertwines indigenous myths that are critical of hegemonic culture and socio-environmental concerns. In the courtyard of Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, two imposing snakes, decorated with colourful circular patterns, are poised in attack position. Though made with Western materiality – inflatables – Entidades (Entities) reflect and convey Macushi imagery, aesthetics and thought processes. Symbols of fertility and abundance, these giant snakes, in transit between worlds, continue to protect the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Forest and our shared nature.  

Find the works of Jaider Esbell in the Les Vivants (Living Worlds) exhibition at Tripostal.

SUN : 14H – 18H
WED > SUN : 10H – 18H

The Hatchling, Joanna Rajkowska

14 may — 02 october 2022

The multi-disciplinary artist Joanna Rajkowska is above all known for her interventions in the public space. Her critical, committed approach is based on the belief that we humans have not succeeded in producing a viable, sustainable culture. 

The Hatchling is a large-scale replica of a blackbird egg with highly characteristic colours: blue-green with brown spots. From the inside of the sculpture emanate sounds of hatching birds recorded by ornithologists. The work invites the visitor to step closer and listen attentively to the first quivering of new life. The egg vibrates to the rhythm of heartbeats, the cracking of the eggshell and the hatchling’s first chirps that announce its arrival in the world. This hatching in the heart of the city awakens our empathy for other species and reminds us of the fragility of nature, whose survival will determine our own existence. 

MON : 14H À 18H
WED > SUN : 10H À 18H

Rezilientia, Ghyslain Bertholon

14 may — 02 october 2022

For more than 20 years, the artist has been questioning the ties between human beings and their environment in works that bear witness to his commitment to social issues. He has turned an uncompromising eye to the relationship of domination that Man has with Nature, without abandoning a redeeming off-beat quality. Sometimes with humour. Always with poetry. 

One day in November 2019, the artist was doing a quick sketch in his notebook of a burnt stump with a hatchet buried in it, whose handle seems to be springing back to life. At the time, the Australian continent was literally being consumed in the flames of gigantic fires. After a family discussion about the tragedy, he submitted his new sculpture project. He was then told that he’d drawn a similar project several years before. But he had no memory of it! After some searching, he found the first sketch of the same sculpture dating back to… 2009. When Australia was burning as well!  

Ghyslain Bertholon conceived of the same sculpture project, affected by the same emotions, 10 years apart. But then lockdown occurred, and this time the sketch would be transformed into a sculpture. Rezilientia was born. 

The emotion the artist feels when confronted with the ills of the Earth, which “resurges” 10 years later, prevails as the enigmatic memory of an echo within himself: his work has always focussed on the relationship that Man maintains with Fauna and Flora. 

“A relationship of domination that leads the human animal to use and abuse the resources offered by a planet Earth whose major equilibria are now off kilter. However, Nature always takes back what is hers; the respite provided by the lockdown demonstrated that. Rezilientia is desperately optimistic, as I like to define myself. Do we have any choice?” 

Ostfriesland, Joana Vasconcelos

14 may — 02 october 2022

With vegetation – jasmine plants – imposes its monumental presence. Up close, the perfect symbiosis of nature with the industry becomes apparent. In the swirls that give Ostfriesland its shape, we recognise the characteristic patterns from the railings and balconies which punctuate our memory.  

Wrought iron, the architectural element that is both functional and decorative, emerges with a structural importance in the construction of the object whose domesticity is denied by the hyperbolisation of its usual scale. While the jasmine, enveloping the whole structure, underlines the reference to tea.  

Joana Vasconcelos also subtly evokes the role that the Portuguese played in introducing tea into European drinking habits, and particularly the role of Catarina of Bragança (1638-1705), who is credited with introducing tea drinking to the English court.  

Find other works by Joana Vasconcelos in The Garden of Eden at the Maison Folie in Wazemmes, and Simone, at Lille Flandres train station.