« Le Ciel regarde la Terre » / « The Sky is Watching the Earth »
53rd Venice Biennale
Presidio Militare, Caserma Cornoldi Riva degli Schiavoni

To represent the Principality of Monaco the 53rd International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale, the commissioner Miria Vicini and the coordinator Giacomo Zaza have chosen the Monegasque artist Philippe Pastor with his work « Le ciel regarde la Terre ».

The show offers a first time exhibition of a nucleus of three great paintings, especially made for the event, and an installation with burned tree trunks.

Protection of nature, rebellion against man’s negligence towards our planet – these are the main themes expressed by the artist.

Philippe Pastor, who has been active for many years both on the international front and in Southern France, has designed great works for the Venice Biennial, to be exhibited in the open so they can interact with the weather.

Like images of the Earth taken from a satellite, the wooden panels called Les Cyclones , Le Pole Nord, La Nature Défigurée, are laid out as if they were three acts, and are each placed on an iron structure reminiscent of the stage on a theatre of the world. The great paintings look out over a sort of human and natural chaos, divided by themes: nature, North Pole, pollution.

The works incorporate masses of natural pigments coming from Morocco (ochre and brown, blue, green), blended with natural elements (branches, dry leaves, sand, etc.) manipulated and shaped through fire, water and the use of compressed air. By using a blow torch, water and earths, Pastor creates a shapeless representation of the world, rich in references to the unexpected forces which cut through existence. At the origin of the representation lies his feelings before climate change, death, anxieties and environmental disasters. This disquiet is channelled through the flow of painting which he puts into his works.

Philippe Pastor’s project also includes – in the corner area of the hall – the presence of an installation consisting of a group of tall charred trees : « Les Arbres Brûlés ». The totem trees come from the forest of Garde Freinet (Massif des Maures) – hit by the fire lit by an arsonist in 2003, they come back here to mark a path, this time an auspicious one, looking up to the sky.

By means of these burned trunks, Philippe Pastor continues his commitment in favour of the United Nations Programme for the Environment and the campaign “Plantons pour la Planète” (“Planting for the Planet”). Through his association Art and Environnement, to which the proceeds of the sale of his sculptures and all the funds collected during the events are allocated, Pastor takes part in programmes for reforestation and for making children aware of environmental problems.

Giacomo Zaza, coordinator of the show, comments: “the panels of the Biennial seem to reveal three visions which are almost cruel and bestial. Here a surface which is changing and uncertain prevails, where the way the matter moves on the support depends on restlessness and the will to denounce. Looking at the Earth from the sky means viewing reality top down, starting from the adoption of “impulse strategies” which are able to proceed from the soul and from the spirit, descending down into the earth surfaces, the damp pigment, the metal grid which symbolically controls and holds all”.

The creativity of Philippe Pastor, halfway between monumental painting and wood sculpture, prospers in a multiple variety of subterranean perspectives which goes beyond the fleeting aspects of today’s society: it opens up to a reflection about issues of the collectivity and the environment, always keeping well in mind the endogenous relation with nature, together with the symbolic interpretation of things.