For his first solo exhibition in France, which opens as part of Nuit Blanche 2016, Rodrigo Braga (born in 1976 in Manaus, Brazil, lives in Rio de Janeiro) is occupying the ornamental pond on the esplanade between Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His monumental installation reveals tangible traces of the prehistoric sea that covered the French capital some 45 million years ago.
Invited to make use of the mineral landscape of the esplanade of Palais de Tokyo, Rodrigo Braga has created an enclaved sea, from which limestone rocks emerge. These sandy-coloured stones, with their familiar appearance, come from quarries used for the construction of a large number of buildings in Paris. Crisscrossed with concave and convex fossil markings, they bear witness to the teeming aquatic life that thrived in the basin of Paris, several million years ago.
“In often extreme bodily encounters, Rodrigo Braga confronts the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and thus explores the forces that unite or oppose mankind with nature. At Palais de Tokyo, he is staging the capital’s geological history, and reminding us of the prehistoric and zoological origins of the stones that shelter us today. His installation uses the thickness of the stone to evoke the extent of the mineral time in which mankind exists.” (Adélaïde Blanc)
The relationships of communion and conflict between mankind and untamed nature lie at the heart of Rodrigo Braga’s performances and installations. Since the early 2000s, his films and photographs have borne witness to the actions and interventions he has carried out, generally in the wilds.