For They That Sow the Wind held at the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art - a registered educational charity and a not-for-profit institution - is a solo exhibition of Julian Charrière's work, including sculpture, documented performance, installations, photographs and film.
Among the several installations exhibited at Parasol unit is Future Fossil Spaces, 2014, a large configuration of thick salt bricks extracted from the Salar de Uyuni salt deposits in Bolivia, South America, a region now commonly referred to as the ‘lithium triangle’. The chemical element lithium is an essential part of the batteries that power our electronic devices. The film Somewhere, 2014, and the photographic series Polygon, 2015, document the devastation caused by human activity in Semipalatinsk, the site in Kazakhstan where, between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests. Charrière’s investigations for Polygon were prompted by J.G. Ballard’s short story, The Terminal Beach.
In the upper gallery, three installations make connections between past and future via the fleeting present. While raising existentialist questions they also have an ethereal beauty. In a series of large photographs, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories, 2013, Charrière is seen as a fragile silhouette melting the iceberg beneath his feet with a blowtorch. The image acts as a catalyst, a projection surface, inviting every spectator to imagine being the protagonist. In We Are All Astronauts, 2013, various globes, ranging from 1890 to 2011, appear to float over a large table. The artist has eliminated geopolitical divisions between countries, continents and people by sanding the surface of each globe and allowing their dust to intermingle on the table top. He uses an ‘international sandpaper’ he produced from mineral samples gathered from all countries recognised by the United Nations. Finally, Tropisme, 2015, displays several plants known to have existed during the Cretaceous period. Shock-frozen at –196 ̊ centigrade by being dipped in liquid nitrogen, the plants are displayed in a sealed glass vitrine and kept refrigerated at –20 ̊C. As long as these plants from 65 million years ago are kept frozen and cared for by humans, they will continue to represent an interface between past and future.
The exhibition is curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director of Parasol unit. It is accompanied by a full-colour publication that includes two insightful essays, one by contemporary philosopher Timothy Morton and the other by Ziba Ardalan, along with her interview of the artist.