This time, it’s « Come Home Again » by Es Devlin in collaboration with Cartier at The Tate Modern Garden – on view for 11 days
Cartier’s publicity states: « Cartier FOR NATURE – The natural world is a source of inspiration and a beauty to protect for the Maison. Cartier supports its conservation through responsible sourcing and production, in tandem with programmes that support biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and a number of communities around the globe who play an important role in protecting the planet. » and continues with « An illuminated choral sculpture highlighting the 243 species on London’s priority list – moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi – installed outside the Tate Modern opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. The large-scale public artwork, commissioned by Cartier, proposes that a first step towards protecting the biosphere is to pay detailed attention to its inhabitants: to observe and draw them, to learn their names and remember their stories. »
« A spiritual ode to biodiversity » according to Wallpaper magazine.
According to an article in The Guardian: « Commissioned by luxury jewellery house Cartier rather than the Tate, the project marks Devlin’s latest foray into the world of brand-sponsored immersive art. The famous stage designer has worked on elaborate stage designs for all of the pop superstars as well as a partnership with Chanel, and a series of commissions for immersive Instagram-friendly brand experiences and a zoetrope-like pavilion in Cape Town for Mercedes-Benz, to showcase its electric car technology..
Her use of trees in temporary installations has raised environmental eyebrows, attracting accusations of greenwashing. Devlin trucked 400 saplings to the courtyard of Somerset House to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals, and imported another forest to Glasgow to create a silvan backdrop for the New York Times Climate Hub at Cop26 a few months later.
In a collaboration with Pangaia, for a clothing line launched as a “reminder to take action now” on climate change, each garment is printed with a quote from Devlin: “A forest of us, a symbiotic symmetry, a branching geometry that flows within us and around us but do you see it, can you feel it, do you breathe it can you find it – go and find it.”
Such environmental platitudes can sometimes feel at odds with the resource-intensive reality of her work. For a recent fashion show for Yves Saint Laurent in the Moroccan desert, Devlin dug a big circular pond and bathed the surrounding sand dunes in clouds of artificial mist – just as Morocco was suffering the worst drought in 40 years. » Editors, influencers and VIPs jetted in for the event that lasted for 15 minutes…
Also according to the article in The Guardian, the work has the look of an animal-themed wedding chapel.
According to the creator of the work: “A dome originally meant a home. The work invites us to see, hear and feel our home, our city as an interconnected web of species and cultures, to learn and remember the names and sing those under threat into continued existence.”
That is in stark contrast to the gold and diamond mining processes necessary for creating the jewelry, watches and accessories for the Maison Cartier…
« a first step towards protecting the biosphere is to pay detailed attention to its inhabitants: to observe and draw them, to learn their names and remember their stories. » ?
“sing those under threat into continued existence.” ?
What becomes of the wildlife, moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi after deforestation for gold mining and contamination of the soil, water and air in the Amazon region?
Does Cartier really « support biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and a number of communities around the globe who play an important role in protecting the planet »?
Below is a photo of gold mining damage in the very Yanomami community that Cartier has used in their publicity and communications « art » exhibits since “The Yanomami Struggle” in 2003…
There was an article in the magazine Télérama at the beginning of Cartier’s 2020 Paris exhibition “The Yanomami Struggle” with a photo of a Yanomami man on the cover. The article did not take into account the fact that the Cartier Foundation “supports” a people, the Yanomami, who are victim of an activity, gold extraction, which precisely enriches the Cartier company!
It was reminiscent of 2011, when the French oil company Perenco sponsored the exhibition “Mayas: from dawn to dusk” at the musée du quai Branly. Of course, the Mayans were only considered during the classical period until about the 10th century. Consequently, the question that was asked in the museum but also in the press was “Is a dead Maya more interesting than a living Maya?”
Perenco even went so far as to finance a “Green Battalion” made up of Guatemalan soldiers, supposedly to protect the environment. In reality, this battalion harassed and forced off their land the Mayan peasants living in the areas where Perenco established its oil wells. Gregory Lassalle made a documentary film on the subject (“From the excesses of art to petroleum derivatives” (2011) and a previous film, “The gold business in Guatemala” (2007).
There are links below from 2011 in which the media was definitely more critical of the dominant industrial model at the time…
“A disputed patron of the ‘Maya’ exhibition at Quai Branly. Can we extract oil in a natural park and sponsor an exhibition on one of the great civilizations of pre-Columbian America? The question is raised by the Collectif Guatemala on the occasion of the opening, Tuesday June 21, of the exhibition ‘Maya, from dawn to dusk’, at the Quai Branly museum. The Franco-British company Perenco, implicated, receives support from scientific advisers at the exhibition.”
“GUATEMALA. Expo Maya at Quai Branly: a cumbersome patron. Associations denounce the environmental impacts in the Laguna del Tigre nature reserve of the Perenco oil company. Several French and Guatemalan associations chose June 20 to denounce in France the actions of the Franco-British oil company Perenco in Guatemala, on the eve of the opening of the Maya exhibition at the Quai Branly museum. The oil company, which burnishes its image by providing patronage for this exhibition, is accused by these associations of not respecting Guatemala’s environmental heritage.”
To paraphrase the Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa: “The luxury jewelry industry is a trap for the Yanomami people. Cartier uses their “friendship” to deceive and manipulate us. What they want is to extract our wealth and send it to other countries. The wealth of our Yanomami land, they will take it and send it to China, Japan, Germany and elsewhere. It’s their way of thinking. It’s their concern, earning money, earning money to get rich.”
You, along with the influencers and VIPs could go to London to see « Come Home Again by Es Devlin in collaboration with Cartier at The Tate Modern Garden » through 1 October 2022 and then jet over to Lille, France for the final day of Cartier’s exhibition at “Utopia” through 2 October.
« Utopia »?
You can read more about that here: