Alexandre Guerre

La timidité des arbres - Installation - 2017

présentée dans le cadre de l'exposition panorama 19


Lie down and let yourself be rocked by this jungle. As you listen, you will perhaps wonder about the strange forms dancing above you. It is a rare botanical phenomenon called “crown shyness” brought to you here from a Malaysian jungle. The initial purpose of this installation is to raise awareness. Plants belong to the category of living beings too, something we are inclined to forget. Poorly understood by botanists, crown shyness in trees is a phenomenon still under investigation. An anthropomorphic term, it alludes to our human social behavior, to our need for personal space, to our mutual proxemic relations. Why and how are physical distances with a stranger or someone close established? A physical distance is very often the translation of a psychological distance. If trees behave socially, that implies individuals must be conscious of their environment and of each other. Is communication the sole preserve of animals? Faced with a phenomenon such as crown shyness, doubts arise.
Certain tribes that still populate the jungle have animist beliefs; for them, spirits do not just dwell in living creatures. They can be found in anything. In that case, trees would be entities, like you and me, that constantly express themselves. One just has to learn how to listen to them.

Alexandre Guerre

Until now, my practice has been based on sound, installation, sculpture, photography, performance and film. But my work is not reflected in the media used, but rather in my experimentation of the latter. I always try to find new ways of exploring, of thinking out of the box, of testing the limits of the media used. Taking a sound recorder instead of a camera to record my trips has gradually changed my perception of the environment. I have learned to prefer apprehending a space by listening even whilst taking a glance. Listening is to imagine, to project, a bit like when you read a book. It is through listening to spaces that my art practice has become more orientated towards a desire to identify the inaudible, the imperceptible that surrounds us.


Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing — Forest Research Institute Malaysia