Windy by Meriem Bennani

Windy by Meriem Bennani presented in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, as part of an exhibition organised by Paris+ Par Art Basel and Musée Du Louvre

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Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani, presented by C L E A R I N G, co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary. Image courtesy of the artist, C L E A R I N G, High Line and Audemars Piguet.

Le Brassus, 16 October 2023 – Meriem Bennani’s kinetic sculpture Windy (2022), presented by C L E A R I N G and co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary, is on view in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, from 17 to 22 October. It is one of the works of ‘La Cinquième Saison’ (‘The Fifth Season’), a freely accessible group exhibition organised by Paris+ par Art Basel and the Musée du Louvre and curated by Annabelle Ténèze, the incoming director of the Louvre Lens Museum. ‘La Cinquième Saison’ is part of Paris+ par Art Basel’s 2023 public programme, which runs concurrently to the fair across six locations of the French capital.

Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

In response to last year’s show ‘La Suite de L’Histoire’ (‘The Aftermath of History’), which Ténèze curated as well, this year’s exhibition considers cultural preservation and environmental changes. The artworks presented have been conceived as ‘living objects’ which invite visitors to become aware of the movements of the Garden and its inhabitants, including animals, plant life and humans.

Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

The Paris exhibition marks the second time Windy will be on view after its inaugural presentation on the High Line, New York, from June 2022 to May 2023.

Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

Co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary in 2022, Windy is a motorised spinning tornado that breaks the norms of traditional static sculpture. Standing at over two meters tall, the sculpture is made from approximately 200 stacked foam disks. An electrical bike motor comprises the spine of the sculpture and moves the foam layers. Marking an important phase in Bennani’s career, Windy represents her first public sculpture, and first stand-alone sculpture, where the artist’s approach to animation, video, and movement is transposed into the physical presence of the work. Inspired directly by the experience of being in the flow of a big city, Windy retains the artist’s signature blend of absurdist humour, misappropriation of cultural clichés and interest in animation, while demonstrating her mastery of mechanical techniques to create the impression of a cartoon-like tornado escaping from its 2D environment.

Windy by Meriem Bennani

Meriem Bennani is represented by C L E A R I N G (Brussels, New York, Los Angeles) and François Ghebaly (New York, Los Angeles). The artist’s practice unfolds across a broad spectrum of media including film, installations, and immersive environments, often confronting references to globalized consumer and popular culture (music, reality TV, fashion) with the vernacular of her native Moroccan traditions and aesthetics.  The curators from High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary worked closely with Bennani to commission the spinning sculpture in 2022, enabling her to explore a new direction in her practice while drawing on several areas of inspiration.

Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

Together with the other artworks presented, Windy playfully illustrates elements in nature, spotlighting the intersection of urban environments within the natural world. Through this contrast, the Jardin des Tuileries exhibition addresses how these various coexistences might live together.

Windy by Meriem Bennani
Meriem Bennani

“Developing Windy expanded my understanding of sculpture and now allows me to take on new conceptual and technical challenges in my work. The project is at once inspired by moving images and in many ways reminds me of the process of animation, while at the same time presenting something quite different and even opposite to my video practice. Windy is much more abstract than my other works and therefore open to many different interpretations. I hope that visitors will have a visceral, emotional reaction when they experience the sculpture and be swept away by its chaotic energy, echoing the spirit of New York City and the High Line where it was first installed and now Paris at the Jardin des Tuileries. The tornado spins counter clockwise, rolling from my current home of New York back to Paris, the city where I lived 14 years ago after leaving Morocco, my childhood home.”

Meriem Bennani, Artist
Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

“We are thrilled with the inclusion of Meriem Bennani’s Windy in the public exhibition La Cinquième Saison, curated by Annabelle Ténèze, and look forward to seeing how the work’s playful twist on traditional public sculpture and its unique vitality will interact with the Jardin des Tuileries—a historic and emblematic Parisian landmark— as well as how it will resonate with its visitors.”

Windy by Meriem Bennani
in the making: Windy by Meriem Bennani

“Windy brought a tremendous vitality to our programme on the High Line last year and I am very excited to see how this special sculpture will put its unique imprint on the Jardin des Tuileries this coming fall. At High Line Art, we share the passion for public art and creating surprising moments of interactions. It will be wonderful to see Windy in its new environment during Paris+ and watch the response of the public audience.”

Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator, High Line Art
Windy by Meriem Bennani

Windy is a sculpture that belongs outdoors in cities. After living first in New York City for one year, it’s a delight to see it travel to Paris and engage in this new environment during Paris+ par Art Basel. Its presentation in a second city emphasises Audemars Piguet Contemporary’s focus on supporting artists on a global scale.”

Audrey Teichmann, Art Curator, Audemars Piguet Contemporary
Windy by Meriem Bennani
Windy by Meriem Bennani

“I am happy to propose an exhibition that brings together artists who consider their works “living objects”, objects that are touched by life. They address not only the marks we leave on nature, but also those nature leaves on us. The environment and how we cohabit with the protagonists of our “terrestrial community” are fundamental to these artists’ practices; they hence invite us to look and listen to the movements of the garden and its inhabitants in subtle yet innovative ways.”

Annabelle Ténèze, Curator of La Cinquième Saison

“Seek Beyond”.

About Meriem Bennani
Meriem Bennani (b. 1988, Rabat, Morocco) is an artist based in New York. In 2022, in addition to Windy, she presented solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois (2022); and Nottingham Contemporary, England (2022). She has previously presented solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, United States (2022), Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin, Germany (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (2019); The Kitchen, New York, United States (2017); and MoMA PS1, New York, United States (2016). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at institutions including LAX, Los Angeles, United States (2020); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020); and MAXXI National Museum of XXI Arts, Rome, Italy (2018). She has participated in major international exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, United States (2019), Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, Turin, Italy (2019); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2018); Biennale de Rennes, France (2018); and 11th Shanghai Biennale, China (2016). –

About High Line Art
Founded in 2009, High Line Art commissions and produces a wide array of artwork, including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programmes, and a series of billboard interventions. Led by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, and presented by the High Line, the art programme invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the unique architecture, history, and design of the park, and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighbourhood and urban landscape. –

About the High Line
The High Line is both a nonprofit organisation and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through its work with communities on and off the High Line, it is devoted to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighbourhoods and cities.
Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. Visitors can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbours—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.
Nearly 100% of the High Line’s annual budget comes through donations. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and is operated under a license agreement with NYC Parks. –

About C L E A R I N G
C L E A R I N G is a contemporary art gallery based in New York, Brussels and Los Angeles. The gallery was founded in 2011, with the focus of showing emerging art. It now represents over 20 living artists, providing many of them – such as Harold Ancart, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Calvin Marcus, and Meriem Bennani – with their first gallery exhibition. The gallery also represents the estates of Eduardo Paolozzi, Bruno Gironcoli and René Heyvaert. C L E A R I N G supports its artists by producing works, exhibitions and books, as well as working closely with public and private institutions. –

About Art Basel
Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel, whose Global Lead Partner is UBS, today stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach, Hong Kong, and Paris. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition. Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through new digital platforms and initiatives such as the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report and Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast. Art Basel’s Global Media Partner is The Financial Times. –

About Audemars Piguet Contemporary
Audemars Piguet believes that creativity feeds culture, connects people and gives purpose to our lives.
Audemars Piguet Contemporary, the brand’s dedicated art programme, embodies this spirit by commissioning international artists to create contemporary artworks. The resulting artworks belong to the artists and contribute to their body of work. With the support of two in-house curators, new commissions are realised across a variety of scales and media, enabling artists to explore new territories in their practice. The team follows each carte blanche commission process from inception to exhibition. The nomadic programme fosters collaborations with cultural institutions around the world to present commissions to global audiences.
Each Audemars Piguet Contemporary commissioned artwork is as an opportunity for new creation, bringing together audiences and broadening horizons, as well as leading to a better understanding within and between individuals.
Since 2012, Audemars Piguet Contemporary have commissioned over 20 international artists including Andreas Angelidakis, Meriem Bennani, Aleksandra Domanović, Cao Fei, Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano, Ryoji Ikeda, Yu Ji, Alexandra Pirici, Tomás Saraceno, Jana Winderen and Sun Xun. Commissioned artworks have been presented worldwide at major venues spanning Asia (Art Basel, Hong Kong; UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing), Europe (180 The Strand, London; Ars Electronica, Linz; Art Basel, Basel; Espace Niemeyer, Paris; House of Electronic Arts, Basel; the International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice; Ocean Space, Venice; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; MAXXI, Rome; Palais de Tokyo, Paris), and the Americas (Art Basel, Miami; the High Line, New York; Times Square Arts, New York). –

About Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Based in Le Brassus since 1875, the company has nurtured generations of talented craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, Audemars Piguet has created numerous masterpieces, testament to the Manufacture’s ancestral savoir-faire and forward-thinking spirit. By pushing the boundaries of what is possible and building bridges between different creative worlds, Audemars Piguet has been able to explore new horizons and build an inspired community. Seek Beyond. —

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