Anne & Patrick Poirier

Marseille 1941 & Nantes 1942, they live and work in Lourmarin, F

The artistic quest of Anne & Patrick Poirier began in Rome nearly fifty years ago. During a stay at Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome, they became fascinated with the age-old ruins and other vestiges of the past that are visible throughout the city. Ever since then, memory has played a major role in their work, as has the vulnerability of culture, nature and mankind. In the Netherlands, work by the Poiriers has been shown only rarely in recent decades. The exhibition at De Pont offers, for the first time, a broad retrospective spanning the period from the 1970s to the present.

From the start of their joint career as artists, the Poiriers have adopted the alternating roles of architect and archeologist. Archeological sites not only bear silent witness to decay and destruction by wars or natural disasters that took place long ago. To the Poiriers, ruins are also a sign of vitality. A metaphor for the continuing cycle of life and death – of construction and destruction.

Driven by curiosity, Anne & Patrick Poirier roam the past in various ways. Born in France during World War II, they have been mapping out archeological sites since 1969. Not only in ancient Rome, but in all sorts of places throughout the world: from Angkor Wat, a half-overgrown temple complex in the Cambodian jungle, to Los Angeles, a modern metropolis that had been hit by an earthquakejust prior totheir stay there. At the site they take photographs, make notes and collect relics and plants. All of this material serves as the basis for maquettes, series of photographs and works on paper.

Greek and Roman antiquity are, to the Poiriers, an important point of departure for their research. Since that age the memory has often been portrayed as a building with rooms that hold an endless supply of images and thoughts. At the same time, the Poiriers regard their designs for actual buildings as metaphors for these 'mental' structures. Sometimes as archeologists, then as architects, they carry out 'excavations' and build ruins of the past, the present and the future. Or are these utopias that have escaped the tyranny of time?

Watch here a video about the making of the exhibition of Anne & Patrick Poirier at De Pont Museum.