Art | October 8, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

Siamo Foresta
Triennale Milano, Milan
June 22 – October 29, 2023

Triennale Milano and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain present, from June 22 to October 29, 2023, the exhibition Siamo Foresta, created under the artistic direction of anthropologist Bruce Albert and Artistic Managing Director of the Fondation Cartier Hervé Chandés, in a special exhibition design conceived by Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini. Bringing together the works of 27 artists from different countries, cultures and generations, mostly Latin Americans and belonging to Indigenous communities, Siamo Foresta invites the visitor to discover new contemporary artistic points of view.

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

Siamo Foresta is accompanied by a rich Public program curated by Italian philosopher Emanuele Coccia, which underlines the original and standing points of the exhibition. The first event takes place on Thursday June 22 from 5 to 8 pm to celebrate the opening of the exhibition and the wide variety of expressive languages, inspirations and topics represented by the artists, 13 of which, along with the artistic directors, will gather around Emanuele Coccia for an inspiring conversation, open to the public. This program will continue in the fall.

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

This exhibition is the sixth project created as part of the eight-year partnership between Triennale Milano and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, confirming the institutions’ commitment to bringing their exhibition projects to multiple audiences, encouraging to discover the visions of artists from the most diverse geographical contexts. Over 70% of the works on display come from the collection of the Fondation Cartier and bear witness to the relationship that it has established with artists from Indigenous communities of South America. The encounter with Indigenous and non-Indigenous aesthetic and metaphysical worlds has offered the opportunity to give life to new artistic projects, exclusive works and unexpected collaborations. Numerous new creations are also included in this exhibition project, conceived ad hoc for Siamo Foresta.

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

Fondation Cartier works to foster encounters and exchanges between artists, a principle standing at the origin of this exhibition, resulting from conversations which have given rise to unprecedented collaborations in particular the one between Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, Yanomami artist from Venezuela, and French artist Fabrice Hyber; or between the artists Adriana Varejão from Rio de Janeiro and Joseca Mokahesi, Yanomami from Brazil; and the most recent collaboration between the Yanomami artist Ehuana Yaira and New York based, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qian.

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

Whether they are passionate observers of the plant and animal diversity of the forest in which they live, or urban creators fascinated by it, the artists in this exhibition dialogue with each other on a common theme: the necessity to reimagine the role of mankind within the universe of living beings.
“Siamo Foresta stages an unprecedented dialogue between thinkers and defenders of the forest; between Indigenous artists – from New Mexico to the Paraguayan Chaco going through the Amazon (Brazil, Peru and Venezuela) – and non-Indigenous artists (Brazil, China, Colombia and France) (…).

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

Siamo Foresta draws its founding inspiration from a common aesthetic and political vision of the forest as an egalitarian multiverse of living beings, human and non-human, and as such offers the vibrant allegory of a possible world beyond our anthropocentrism. Since its origins, the Western tradition has categorised the living according to a scale of value on which the human stands at the top. Through this supremacism, humanity has gradually cut itself off from the living, paving the way for all the abuses which are now culminating with the destruction of biodiversity and the contemporary climate catastrophe.

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

The philosophy of Indigenous societies in the Americas, on the other hand, considers that humans and non-humans (animals and plants) although different in appearance, are profoundly united by the same sensitivity and intentionality. Therefore, human and non-human communities constitute, for them, a complex multiverse of beings who coexist, on an equal footing and at the cost of mutual compromise, within the same vast and living entity, the “earth-forest-world“. It is in the name of this concern for equality between the living and the recognition of the porous nature of the borders which, in appearance, distinguish them – against, therefore, the idea of any human supremacism – that the artists presented here are brought together.” (Bruce Albert, anthropologist and curator of the exhibition).

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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

To underline the emotional connections, the stylistic and conceptual affinities between the selected works, the artists on display are ideally connected one to the other through the exhibition design conceived by Luiz Zerbini. In fact, the artist has imagined a continuous set of scenographic elements that embraces the entire exhibition journey and allows the forest, with its elements and vital rhythm, to inhabit the halls of Triennale Milano. On the one hand, the forest is no longer a space extraneous to the city and culture, but the place where encounters are celebrated: Siamo Foresta puts together artists who imagine unity of the planet through the idea of the forest.

On the other hand, it is through art that different cultures can dialogue together and transform each other: the exhibition recounts the influences that the Indigenous cultures of the Amazon area and beyond have exerted on non-Indigenous aesthetic cultures. The museum becomes the place where the arts show the way to reimagine the planet and its future in a different way. The exhibition Siamo Foresta is accompanied by a dedicated publication, containing the iconographic documentation of the exhibition journey, and by a children’s guide that proposes dedicated activities exploring the contents of the artworks, designed specifically for the younger public together with a series of workshops. The story of Siamo Foresta continues online on the Fondation Cartier Italia’s social channels as well as on Triennale Milano’s.


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Image courtesy of Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | © Gianluca Di Ioia

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