Veduta, supported by insurer MGEN across all its actions in 2021, is teaming with the youth health centre in Chanay through several visual-art workshops run by two artists, Laura Ben Haïba and Gaëlle Foray, who use investigative processes (focusing on environments and scientific and technical methods) based on principles of collection and of serendipitous finds.

Gaëlle Foray is based in a former sanatorium on the Hauteville Plateau. Her artistic practice is inspired by these wide-open spaces, from which she gathers various materials, then uses them to make assemblages – “sedimentations” that take the form of sculptures, collages and installations. Her practice reflects a receptiveness to ecology, popular cultures and everyday objects.

Laura Ben Haïba lives in Lyon. She takes a scientific approach to her art, exploring many fields of natural and technical science. She makes drawings and casts that reflect her interest in processes of various durations, such as fossilisation. She retrieves or discovers things during collective explorations, then develops them in her studio, thus composing an impression of our times.

The artists’ project goes to the heart of mineral matter – an imaginary dive below the health-centre building, with as its starting-point the history of a rock face that they discovered at the end of their scouting trips in Chanay in 2021. In a large crawl space, like some contemporary cave, was a “source rock” which had resisted the builders, who had been forced to incorporate it into the architecture. The two artists chose to appropriate it symbolically, making the group of participants the “inventors” of another rock – the twin of the one beneath the building. These creators – having observed photographs of the “source rock”, which they were unable to visit, and listened to the stories of those who had seen it – were invited to produce a fictitious, fantasised representation of the original rock.

The adolescent participants, who first took a dive into the two artists’ visual-art archaeology practice, then continued their creative experiments autonomously, based on the installation that they created with the artists and is located in situ and outside the site, free to evolve and erode; and on adding a collective or individual “trace”.

Project conducted as part of MGEN’s sponsorship of Veduta 2021.

Photo 1 : The “source rock” under the youth health centre in Chanay, 2021 © Laura Ben Haïba

Image 2 : Laura Ben Haïba, Empreintes locales, installation of 11 cement-on-wood casts (various dimensions), 2019, installation on the art and nature trail of the Pôle Land Art Départemental de la Ferme, Production PLAD de la Ferme de Chosal - ESAT - Copponex © Laura Ben Haïba

Image 3 : Gaëlle Foray, Les mères, assemblage (shells, photographic paper), 6x6x5 cm, 2019 © Gaëlle Foray

The project in pictures