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DSCENE Exclusive Interview With Artist MIMOSA ECHARD

MIMOSA ECHARD talks about her hybrid eco-systems, having a garden, and her latest exhibition at Palais de Tokyo.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

Paris-based artist MIMOSA ECHARD sits down to talk with Editor Katarina Doric about her hybrid eco-systems, having a garden, and her latest exhibition at Palais de Tokyo.

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Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

When did you begin to do art, and why? – I am not sure when I began, as such, art has always been somehow a part of my life. Maybe it was when I saw the Mike Kelly and Paul McCarthy show at the Lyon Biennale when I was fifteen…I had to lie about my age to be let into the show. After seeing their work, I knew that I wanted to be like them without really knowing what that meant at the time.

What are your thoughts on the Paris art scene today? – I think Paris has good energy right now. I am excited about the up-and-coming generation of young artists.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

I try to break down the categories that define the way. Western culture perceives the living and the non-living, the natural and the synthetic, clean and dirty… trying to go beyond the simplicity of binaries.

In your hybrid eco-systems, the living and the non-living organisms coexist in some sort of harmony, which is not always the case IRL. What is the message you want to convey? – There is no message, nor really any harmony…more just moments of ambiguity. I try to break down the categories that define the way. Western culture perceives the living and the non-living, the natural and the synthetic, clean and dirty… trying to go beyond the simplicity of binaries.

How do you source the objects you use in your work? – Loved ones send me things they find in and around my village, eBay black holes, my personal archive, traveling, gifts from friends, things found on the street, and other chance encounters.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

You have your own garden. What do you grow there? – Many things, mainly flowers, and vegetables. Until recently, I had a dragon blood tree, but it didn’t survive last winter. I have also been making permaculture garden beds, getting into layering the soil with rotting wood, earth from the nearby forest, old mushrooms, grass cuttings, and compost. It’s an autonomous Earth lasagna.

How important is it for you and your work? – It’s not really important for my work but more just important for…me. My friend compared her obsession with drawing to my relationship with my garden…There is always some part of my brain there.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

In your ongoing exhibition Sporal at the Palais de Tokyo, your work centers around very interesting organisms – myxomycetes. Can you tell us a bit more about it? – There are too many interesting things about them…Let’s just say they are mono-cellular organisms with a capacity for memory and hundreds of sexual types. I discovered them through my research into the Japanese scientist, folklorist, and proto-ecologist Minakata Kumagusu, who had a special relationship with these organisms. I then went on a residency to Japan to meet various biologists, including Tomato Doei, who gave me a rare pink physarum roseum specimen.

You’ve also created a video game for this exhibition. What is the connection with myxomycetes? – At the end of my residency, I asked the Japanese shamisen musician Koharu Yanagiya to make me a song “for” myxomycetes, a song about love and transformation. Her lyrics were based on a traditional Japanese folktale, Kiyohime, and Anchin, about the metamorphosis of a woman into a dragon/snake. The video game unfolded from this song…reimagining Kiyohime’s story within a mono-cellular organism like a myxomycete.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

Do you think that the way we use technology is leading us to an ecological disaster? Is there an alternative? – Technology is not necessarily a problem in itself. As in not all technology is extractive or destructive. What seems important to me is to create a new technological imaginary, or erotics…one that isn’t led by the desire to possess.

Mimosa Echard, Sporal, exhibition view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (15.04.2022 – 04.09.2022). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole. © Mimosa Echard/ADAGP, Paris (2022).

What are your concerns about the environment today? – I am not sure where to begin…perhaps the fact that we spend more time trying to find individual solutions to collective problems.

What’s next for you?
 – Blue, foaming, crashing waves, and then the Prix Marcel Duchamp in late September.

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