Climats Artificiels (Artificial Climates), curated by Camille Morineau, was conceived to time in with COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year. Assembling works by over 20 artists, the exhibition at Fondation EDF, owned by France's electricity company, proposes a metaphoric vision about climactic change relating to the five elements. it's an inter-generational show, taking in established artists such as Ange Leccia and Marina Abramovic, mid-career artists like Laurent Grasso and Spencer Finch, and upcoming names like Julian Charrière, Hicham Berrada and Charlotte Charbonnel.
Each of the three floors deals with a different angle. The ground floor is themed around Precarious Equilibria. In the centre is Leccia's video La mer, the white frothy waves surging against a black background appearing as a striking abstraction. In a room to the right are works by Berrada, a young Moroccan-born, Paris-based artist, whose enigmatic videos are projections of experiments he makes by mixing different chemical elements together in a small container. Alongside these are his aquatic pieces, in which different matter seem to grow inside small cubes. On the back wall is Julian Charrière's project Panorama (2009-2011), including a video of the artist scattering white powder onto a mountain that is exhibited next to the photograph that resulted from his gesture.
In the basement, Ordinary Catastrophes includes a sculptural, polluted landscape of hybridised cacti and flowers from 1971 by the late Tetsumi Kudo. A conceptual film by Grasso imagines a world with two suns while a film, Darvaza (2011), by Adrien Missika follows a fire ravaging arid land. Sillage (2012-2015), an installation by Cécile Beau and Nicolas Montgermont, comprises a black-and-white topography of Chili projected onto the wall being reflected into a rectangle of dark liquid; concentric waves relating to seismic areas deform the mural image and its reflection.
The works on the first floor are themed around the Condition of the Sky. Visitors can poke their heads into three suspended gardens created by American artist Vaughn Bell; it's an environmental piece called Village Green (2008). A video, Céleste (2014), by Berrada features a cloud of blue smoke enveloping a natural landscape. Ceramics by Bente Skjøttgaard and cloud drawings by Alison Moffett add a light touch. The exhibition closes with Tetsuo Kondo's installation Cloudscape, made with climate engineering firm Transsolar.
Although the range of works is uneven, the exhibition offers a broad, imaginative perspective on the idea of climates being artificially altered.