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Julia Cottin made a forest of sculpted columns presented as faux supports for the ceiling. The wooden columns were hewed directly from tree trunks.

Julia Cottin dedicates her whole exhibition to the idea of the forest: the forest as a place of nature untamed, a space conducive to the imagination and formative experiences (cf. its role in fairy tales), also as a place of refuge from social control (a hiding place for thieves and pariahs in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages).

The installation in space is inspired by Julia Cottin's topographical charting in a forest in the region, based on the surface area of the room.

The layout of the columns here is thus an exact replica of a fragment of the forest. The artist retains the elements specific to the composition of a column: base, shaft and capital.

But this vocabulary from classical architecture is subverted by the random distribution of the vertical segments, by their crude crafting and by the symbolic function accorded to them here.

Traditionally associated in the history of architecture with a monumental supportive role and with an often-academic symbol of elevation, here the columns resemble props, much like the building site elements that are used to support loads temporarily.

However, the artist plays with the process of inversion, applying it both literally and figuratively without restricting its significance.

Forest of Juma by Julia Cottin is thus inspired both by Romanesque and by oriental columns. As in all the artist's sculptures, the metaphorical scope (placing a natural space in a constructed space; the meeting of the western world and the eastern world; overthrown power supported by a naturalist topography) is counterbalanced by a distinctly pragmatic dimension (the balance of force, resistance of the material, the question of function, and the human scale).

Additional Info

  • Type Upcoming exhibition
  • Artist(s) Julia Cottin
  • Curator(s) Christian Mosar