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BMW Art & Culture will exhibit "The Pigment Change" by Almudena Romero, tenth winner of the BMW Residency, at Rencontres d'Arles.

This year, BMW is celebrating 50 years of supporting cultural projects all over the world, in the fields of modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music, and architecture and design. As such, it contributes to the dissemination of knowledge and the arts. In France, BMW Group France has been a patron of photography since 2003.

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This year, BMW is celebrating 50 years of supporting cultural projects all over the world, in the fields of modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music, and architecture and design. As such, it contributes to the dissemination of knowledge and the arts. In France, BMW Group France has been a patron of photography since 2003.

"The Pigment Change" project created during the BMW Residency.
"The Pigment Change" takes an original experimental and scientific approach towards natural photo production, whereby Romero's research focuses on pigment changes, with an ecological and societal commitment. Her work echoes BMW Group's vision of innovation for a more sustainable future and of production which respects the environment and its resources.

François Cheval, Artistic Director of the BMW Residency, commented on the winner's work: "Almudena Romero, like many of her peers, believes that renewing the medium can follow the same path as the first photographic processes, while highlighting the plastic and physical characteristics of plants. Because plants are not only the subject, they also take on a new status as vectors of visual information. They are given the new role of determining the final form of the work of art and specifying its meaning."

Given the inevitable disappearance of the silver process, the photographer seeks a virtuous practice using living materials. Her main medium is natural, at the expense of chemistry, plants and her material, as well as light specific to plants and photosynthesis.

The project is divided into four parts: Faire une photographie (take a photo), Family album, Offspring and The act of producing, which represent the artist's viewpoint on production or the cause of existence.

In "Faire une photographie", the plants are exposed to specific amounts of light to bring about a pigment change in the leaves, in spring and in fall.

In "Family album", Almudena exposes the negatives of her family archives directly onto cress cultivation panels to "grow" photographic prints.

In "The act of producing" and "Offspring", the photographer uses entire plants as photographic substrates on which she records her images.

"The act of producing" features various large-scale collages (1.5 x 2 m) made up of several leaves exposed to extraordinary quantities of UV light to bring about a pigment change. This pigment change, based on plants' survival mechanism, involves replacing the chlorophyll pigments (green) with carotenoids (yellow) to release excess energy. The artist uses the plants' ability to change pigments to record very detailed images of her own hands while working with the plants.

In "Offspring", the artist uses plants' selective reproduction strategies as a metaphor to express her decision not to become a mother due to the current climate and environment crisis. This part of the project includes a 30-day timelapse documenting the birth of a new leaf and a series of text elements printed directly onto the leaves of this plant.

The artist was able to broaden her research thanks to the resources available at the BMW Residency at the GOBELINS School of Visual Arts. As such, she experimented with complex, fragile, expensive and large-size materials within the school environment, assisted by two students and supported by professors. 

EXHIBITIONS.
"The Pigment Change" created as part of the BMW Residency will be exhibited:

  • in the Saint-Trophime Cloister during the Rencontres d'Arles event, from July 4 to August 29, 2021.
  • In the temporary Grand Palais during the Paris Photo event, from November 11 to 14, 2021.

BOOK.
"The Pigment Change" has been jointly published by BMW Art & Culture and Les éditions de l'air, des livres.

This original editorial choice supports the research and experimentation dimension of the BMW Residency at the GOBELINS School of Visual Arts.

This edition is made up of three different-sized bound booklets, inserted into a horizontal strip. The three booklets each have a different color – blue, red and green – as a tribute to the printing house's RGB and to Almudena Romero's research. The first booklet is an introduction with a preface written by Vincent Salimon, Chairman of the BMW Group France Executive Board, and begins with a text by François Cheval, Artistic Director of the BMW Residency. The second booklet showcases the winner's research work. The third one features the works she created during the Residency.

The Faune typeface, created by Sandrine Nugue as part of a call for applications by the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP) in partnership with the Imprimerie Nationale group, was used for the titles.

"The Pigment Change" by Almudena Romero - BMW Residency at the GOBELINS School of Visual Arts:

  • Éditions de l'air, des livres - BMW Art & Culture
  • Published in: May 2021
  • Price: €29
  • 3 booklets of 12, 24 and 24 pages - Format: 210 x 257, 200 x 247, 190 x 237 cm

 

For further information, please contact:

Maryse Bataillard
Head of Patronage, BMW Group France
Email: maryse.bataillard@bmw.fr
Telephone: +33 (0)1 30 03 19 41

Maud Prangey
Press officer
Email: mprangey@gmail.com
Telephone: +33 (0)6 63 40 54 62

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