The Cloud Forest – S.E.A. Focus

The Cloud Forest

Hélène Le Chatelier | Pang

Medium: Branches, tulle fabric, paper leaves

Size of work: Dimensions variable

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The Cloud Forest is a collective installation by Hélène Le Chatelier (French, based in Singapore) and Pang (Singaporean).

Cloud forests take their name from their literal nature: low hanging clouds hover around the upper canopy of the forest, creating a hazy and misty atmosphere. The sky seems to come down and, when walking in the forest, one actually walks through the clouds.

Heĺene Le Chatelier and Pang’s installation, The Cloud Forest, is a set of white clouds made of tree branches wrapped in tulle fabric, hanging from the ceiling to evoke a cloud forest. Heaps of paper leaves are scattered under the clouds pointing at a change of season. While the cloud is today almost immediately associated with the device used to store computers’ data, the ramifications of the branches in the tulle envelopes suggest a human brain with its complex neuronal connections. As such, the artists contemplate the eventuality of merging the human and the artificial intelligence to create a “Brave New World”¹

The visual impression created by this installation is both poetic and disturbing, aesthetic and intriguing. Between an eulogy of our humanity as we conceived it up to now, and a celebration of a new era, The Cloud Forest is an installation questioning how new technologies model our humanity. What can we expect from new technologies and artificial intelligence? Are we experiencing a de-humanization process or a kind of super-humanization where intelligence is stimulated by a limitless access to knowledge, where communication skills become a key in giving us an impression of control and power because everything then becomes possible.

¹Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Cha0o & Windus Publishers, 1932

About the Artists

Hélène Le Chatelier, a French artist, has been living in Singapore for the last 12 years.

Beyond the academic pursuit of representing the human body in its ideal state, she is interested in portraying the transformation of the body and the elusive nature of our lives. She imagines a cartography of remembrance, crystallised in nudes whose contours, like our memories, are sometimes accurate, sometimes hazy. The ink on paper technique allows her to transcend the antagonism between traditional Chinese painting and European painting. Much like in traditional Chinese painting, the brush leaves a void that expresses the quest for reconciliation between the infinite nature of sentiments and the physical limits of the body.

Hélène's work can be seen as a snapshot of our souls, using nudity to evoke our inner fragility. It summarises the journey of our souls. As life goes on, wrinkles and scars appear on human bodies as on human heart, reflecting accumulation of memories and the passage of time. Each work captures a unique story and reflects the pursuit of harmony. Hélène’s nudes talk of tenderness and pleasure but they also remind us that there is no life without suffering.

Hélène studied art in Paris at the Ecole National Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art, Olivier de Serres where she graduated in Fine Art Fresco painting with honours. Since her first exhibition in Paris right after her graduation, she embraced various modes of expression, painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, writing.