Origins, artists’ views of primary forests

Origins, artists’ views of primary forests

Conceived by COAL, the exhibition brings together a dozen international artists around the theme of primary forests. From June 2 to 4, the Carreau du Temple will be hosting this ephemeral event as part of the 1.618 program.

2400 trees are cut down every minute. It takes seven centuries for a cleared land to become virgin forest again. If our temporal reference points rarely exceed those of the generation that precedes us, the primary forests, free of any human exploitation, are the fruit of millions of years of evolution. The last remaining forests represent only one third of the world’s forests, mainly concentrated in the Amazon, Russia, Canada, Indonesia and the Congo Basin. Cradle of biodiversity, source of the oxygen we breathe thanks to the colossal trees that relentlessly draw carbon, this essential link in the planetary balance constitutes one of the most important Nature-based Solutions to fight against climate change.

The exhibition brings together a dozen international artists looking at these forests of origins. While some of their works are an ode to their beauty, others echo their suffering and that of the people who inhabit them. They explore the links of interdependence between humans and non-humans and question the anthropization of landscapes. How to testify of the immemorial times of the living? How to give a face to the senseless destruction that ravages them? What forms can revolt take?

Through the diversity of their mediums and approaches, these creations reveal a desire for reconciliation. Paintings, photographs, drawings and installations interact in a scenography designed by ARTER. As part of an eco-design approach, the space is mainly composed of reused materials and elements. Under the glass roof of the Carreau, the selection of works testifies to the artists’ deep fascination for the richness of these primordial spaces with their luxuriant vegetation. She explores the forests of our origins through a broad prism of sensitive approaches. From Lucy+Jorge Orta’s paintings celebrating the beauty of biodiversity, to Sebastião Salgado’s portraits of indigenous peoples, to Frans Krajcberg’s cry of revolt: the forest is revealed in all its freedom of expression. Through the power of these creations, the exhibition invites viewers to reflect on the need to preserve this priceless human heritage.




Andrea Olga Mantovani, Érik Samakh, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Guerchom Ndebo, Lélia Demoisy, Bruno Gadenne, Frans Krajcberg, Sebastião Salgado, the Amitikatxi collective, Tamarris Borrely, Edu Simões, Romain Bernini, Bianca Dacosta, Xadalu Tupã Jekupe.



Lauranne Germond (Coal), exhibition curator, Sara Dufour, associate curator and Jeanne de Roquefeuil, project manager.


This event was sponsored by the Beau Beau association, whose aim is to educate and raise awareness of sustainable development issues through creation, art, the transmission of know-how and innovation.


Take a look at

COALITION exhibition – associated programming
COALITION, 15 years of art and ecology

  • About us
    About us

    COAL mobilizes artists and cultural actors on societal and environmental issues and accompanies the emergence of a new culture of ecology through its actions such as the COAL Prize, curating exhibitions, advising institutions and communities, European cooperation, and the animation of conferences, workshops and the first dedicated website


    COAL has been awarding the COAL Prize Art and Environment every year since 2010 and the COAL Student Prize - Culture & Diversity since 2020.

  • Projects

    Major projects linked to the major events in political ecology, in connection with natural or urban environments.

  • Artistic direction
    Artistic direction

    About fifty exhibitions throughout France, cultural actions, works in the public space, and project support to contribute to the emergence of a new culture of ecology.


    Cooperation programs on a European and international scale, support for institutions in their ecological transition through tailor-made accompaniment and training, promotion of arts and ecology issues through publications and numerous conferences and workshops.