FROM 7 MARCH TO 4 JUNE 2017
© Lionel Sabatté. Cliché : Alain Alquier
Darwin’s theory, that made the competition between individuals the principle motor driving evolution, can be viewed as justifying uncontrolled capitalism and colonialism.
In apparent contradiction, the theory of kin selection, developed by the Englishman William Donald Hamilton in 1964, offers an explanation for the appearance, during evolution, of the altruistic behaviour seen in certain organisms in their interactions with other organisms. These altruistic instincts appear to increase with kinship under the influence of natural selection.
In designing his installation for the courtyard of the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Lionel Sabatté was looking to make an explicit reference to this theory from which he has taken the title of his work. It consists of three sculptures: a tree, a human silhouette and a headless animal, that form the poles of a triangular figure. By establishing a harmonious spatial relationship between these three representatives of nature, Lionel Sabatté sought to underline their interdependence. The human and animal figures are made from coloured concrete. Left partially exposed, the metal rods that provide their structure express movement whilst giving an impression of vulnerability that arouses our empathy. Conversely, the tree is directly borrowed from nature as if a form of “ready-made” botany. However, its branches are adorned with a strange flowers artificially made from human skin.
Lionel Sabatté, born in Toulouse in 1975 and a graduate of Beaux-Arts school of fine art in Paris, became known through his use of a variety of normally repulsive materials: dusts collected on subway platforms, organic debris such as dead skin or nail clippings. The virtuosity with which they are shaped creates fascinating yet repulsive works that challenge the objectivity of our aesthetic judgement.