Built on the slope of the mythical Rock of Monaco and rising to a height of 85 metres above the waves, The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco offers a dazzling dive into the discovery of more than 6,000 species. As an internationally renowned location with over 600,000 visitors per year, the Museum offers visitors the chance to know, cherish and protect the oceans. Renewing its commitment to both scientific knowledge and contemporary creation, the Museum promotes an active conversation between the artworks, its collections and the aquarium, to reveal its treasures from a new angle. Since 2010, the Museum has given a new impulse to this program, by inviting renowned contemporary artists to enrich the theme of ocean protection through the originality and uniqueness of their gaze. As a result, Damien Hirst (2010), Huang Yong Ping (2010), Mark Dion (2011), and Marc Quinn (2012) have all occupied space at the Museum, as well as a Chinese artists’ collective which presented “On Sharks & Humanity” in 2014 in collaboration with Parkview Arts Action, and more recently the Taba Naba exhibition in 2016, dedicated to Aboriginal and Oceanic art.
The Museum has announced the latest artist to exhibit here is Philippe Pasqua, whose monographic Borderline exhibition will run until 30th September. Pasqua’s monumental works, most of which have been tailor-made for this show, will stand alongside the Museum’s mythical collection to create a unique dialogue. Twelve creations, including seven unseen works, will occupy the entire space – from the square in the front of the Museum and its panoramic terrace, to the cliff on which the building is perched. Pasqua’s works are characterised by materials that symbolise solidity and strength, such as bronze and onyx, or eternity and purity, like marble and silver. His works, which sometimes reach to 25 metres in length, echo the monumentality of his paintings and appeal to his audience through their volume and visual strength.
In his work, Pasqua experiments with the notion of limits. He flirts with the brink, brushes against boundaries and breaks free of them. Violent and raw, his oeuvre disturbs as much as it fascinates, placing the visitor in a dilemma: to gaze intently or to turn away, a mechanism of defence rather than one of indifference. “Pasqua questions, raises concerns and unsettles his audience, but never leaves unmoved. His work provides the ideal trigger for raising awareness in favour of marine and terrestrial life”, explains Robert Calcagno, the Museum’s director.
Pasqua’s penchant for the monumental is in contrast with his attraction to the vulnerable and profound. Faults and cracks are shown in size XXL. This instinctive artist does not theorise about his work and leaves visitors free to interpret it. In his view, art goes beyond the spoken and the visible. “Beauty is evocative power,” he explains. A work is beautiful because of the emotion it produces, the blow it deals to the heart.
In this century-old palace dedicated to art and science, the artist expresses his sensitivity and questions his audience’s relationship with nature, death, and rebirth. “Building on these recurrent themes, he plays with the ambiguous connection between mankind and the marine world, a relationship defined by both fear and fascination, in order to confront his audience with the current issues of biodiversity protection”, Robert Calcagno adds. These environmental concerns are an integral part of the Museum’s DNA and can be seen reflected in the Borderline works, on the borderline between the poetic and commitment.
For more information about Philippe Pasqua, go to www.pasquaphilippe.com. For more information about The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, go to www.oceano.mc/en. Philippe Pasqua’s Borderline exhibition runs from 5th May – 30th September 2017.