Des journées entières dans les arbres, the latest exhibition at the Musée d’art modern of Collioure evokes childhood memories of whole days spent in the branches of a tree.

Once upon a Tree, Musée d’art modern of Collioure

In those innocent days we were one with nature like the tree-climbing children in Hanicotte’s fig tree, their tanned arms and legs – young shoots- entwined with the trunk and branches.

Throughout the exhibition, trees, flowers and gardens are presented from new and unexpected points of view. Take for example the tree trunk with a lock and key inviting us to open the door to a magical, mysterious green world.

Developing this theme, the director Claire Muchir has set works from the permanent collection alongside those of three contemporary artists.

Anne Slacik’s wall of impressions of natural objects contains a multitude of images from realistic eucalyptus to abstract visions of decay, all part of the natural cycle of life.

Hélène Peytavi painted her blue and black compositions directly onto wood. In her works light seems to structure the landscape.

Once upon a Tree, Musée d’art modern of Collioure

We are led up the spiral staircase into the exhibition rooms by Clara Claus’ delicate mobile combining dried leaves, charred wood, stones and painted scraps of paper. This artist from Banyuls shares her concern for the fragility of the natural world.

Look closely at Jean-Baptiste Audat’s circles of plexiglass. You will find a map of the world, the plumage of an exotic bird or a log jam on a river all made from recycled book parts.

Once upon a Tree, Musée d’art modern of Collioure

Not all that many millennia ago we lived in trees and depended on them for our safety, our shelter, our food and our well-being. In light of today’s headlines about fires consuming parts of California and Oregon you realise that memories of days spent in trees may very well be a luxury our children and grandchildren will not know. These artists remind us of the glory and generosity of the natural world.

The exhibition runs from 12 September to 3 January 2021. During this time the public is invited to participate in numerous workshops and garden visits organised by the museum on the same theme.
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