Exodus Stations #5

From the earth to the 'sonde' – the story of a common route where traces are archived and overlap
Yolande Padilla

Yolande Padilla (in charge of international development in research and training at the Mucem Marseille) October 2019 Mucem — Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée
Topic: A short introduction into the focus of the Research Department of the Mucem

In June 2017, we recruited to a research residency post located in Marseille, co-funded by the Institut Méditerranéen de Recherche Avancée ( IméRA) and the Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (Mucem).

Marta Jecu was successfully recruited for a project that intends to create a theoretical basis for the relationship between art and museums, from the perspective of a critical approach in museology. This method involves inviting a contemporary artist interested in archives to create an intervention. The assumption: conceptual art is capable of reinforcing the meaning of objects. In this particular situation the ethnographic objects, as well as classifications stay ambiguous.

This is the 5th edition of the ‘Exodus Stations’ cycle.

Starting with this beautiful institutional and theoretical foundation, an exceptional element was waited for that would deliver an artistic proposal that could validate it  , that would be made public and contribute to art, museum and society.

This takes place in 2019 with the encounter between the curator Edouard de Laubrie and the artist Vincent Chevillon, suggested by the curator Marta Jecu, and staged by the museum.

Out of their different approaches, their engaged dialogue created important convergences – rural and maritime – which were inspired by childhood experiences, but also by their interest in the role of objects and techniques used in current everyday life and in ancient cultures.

Vincent Chevillon has resided in Martinique, as well as in the Ain Department, and has always lived close to farming activities at the junction of maritime worlds. Meanwhile, Edouard de Laubrie has put together a collection by transiting the villages and coasts of Europe and the Mediterranean and grasping past and present uses of these collections of objects.

Vincent Chevillon is interested in baskets created with ancient telephone wires overseas, whereas Edouard de Laubrie visited the ports of the South of France and the Aegean Sea, where he sourced a handcrafted basket for the collection.

This entry in the museum’s reserves is for the artist like a return to a territory explored since childhood. For the curator, the artist’s take on his archives, brings a particular way of examining an ethnographic endeavour in a moment of emotional and aesthetic complicity.

The ‘sonde’ – the main work of Vincent Chevillon’s intervention – puts its two big wheels on the soil and becomes an image of mobility on firm ground. Through its rays, it launches a quest in space and time, where the objects assume meanings pointed out by different periods, rites and cultures.

Jean-François Chougnet commissioned this undertaking in the exhibition « Ruralités », Sylvia Amar planned the production. I co-ordinated the whole residency.

For each of its actors, this residence has taken place over a long duration, that of the politics of the establishments, that of the artist, that of the museum’s curator, that of the Exodus cycle. It is without any doubt this that creates a fair and at the same time strong project. A new object is created for accessing other histories, as is evoked by Vincent Chevillon in his work ‘Sonde’.