Mahault Lavoin

Mahault Lavoin

Project description

Growth – Degrowth Charcoal on paper, 105×75 cm, 2020,

7 superimposed drawings, Text

Here, two clouds are facing each other. This diptychs of drawings is created from mappings revealing Nitrogen dioxide emission over China. For each cloud, seven drawings are superimposed, tracing seven consecutive days of air pollution.

The first drawing begins on January 23, first day of Wuhan lockdown. Here, the coal fades as the drawing go, and dust gradually disappears. The cloud turns white and reveals the shutdown of the economy and mass production.

The second drawing begins on April 8, first day of Wuhan unlockdown. Here, the paper is blackened day after day, revealing the resumption of production and its impact on air pollution.

Accompanied by a text, these two clouds confront and oppose each other. They reveal two different economic and political models and ask us about the model to follow.

Artist statement

 The landscape is at the center of my artistic practice. Whether it’s genre, concept or theme, I examine it, scrutinize it, survey it, and experience it constantly. Yet it is only a pretext for a mobile artistic practice. A movement in mediums, in subjects. This often restricted mobility leads me to follow ill-defined paths, to reject fluidity and the straight line drawn by the road to find the edge of the wood, the edge of the landscape.

I’m interested in the “latent appearances of the world”, the limits of representation, at the very limit of the landscape genre. What is traveling today? Why photograph and document the world? What is a territory? Why still produce new images?

I ask these question in order to deconstruct our ability to see the world as it is. I collect and analyze data to better fragment geographical areas. Through photographic act, I capture, frame and reframe but through the final image you can’t see anything. The image and its flow make us blind. We dive in this endless stream of information. Then comes the time of editing, of composition. The whole is drawn and revealed before our eyes, our body recedes, we step aside. The whole, which gives us access to this new landscape, to this other reality, to this other us.


               „Today we feel that all the expedients and stratagems we took until recently to be effective ‒ if not foolproof when it came to resisting and tackling the dangers of crises ‒ have passed or are about to pass their use-by date. But we have little if any inkling of what to replace them with. The hope of taking history under human management, and the resulting determination to do so, have all but vanished, as the successive leaps and bounds of human history have vied with, and come to outdo, natural catastrophes in their unexpectedness and uncontrollability.

               If we still believe in “progress” (by no means a foregone conclusion), we tend to view it now as a mixture of blessing and curse, the curses growing steadily in volume as the blessings become ever fewer and farther between. While our recent ancestors still believed in the future as the safest and most promising location for investing their hopes, we tend to project into it primarily our manifold fears, anxieties, and apprehensions…“

from the text by Zygmunt Bauman, “Symptoms in Search of an Object and a Name”

an essay from the collection The Great Regression

Mahault Lavoin

Born in 1989, Mahaut Lavoine graduated from the Ecole supérieur d’Art et de Design in Valenciennes in 2015. Her multidisciplinary practice explores the limits of landscape and its representation. The artist is particularly interested in migration, which she has questioned through various projects, including D’un monde à l’autre (2013) and 407 camps (2015). The latter project was exhibited in 2016, during the group show Coding and decoding borders organized by antiAtlas of borders in Brussels. In 2019, she won the festival 9ph prize with her recent photographic project Missing migrants which she also exhibited in December at le Bleu du ciel, a photography center located in Lyon.

Artists #stateofexception

The project is being implemented by

+359 Gallery, Art Project Depot,  in partnership with KX – Critique & Humanism Publishing House.  They will add comments in the form of quotations from books they have published to the images prepared by the artists for the project.