International exhibitions

International 2009 Archives

Michel Huelin, Phytotron
Walter Galerie, Zürich (Suisse)

24.01 - 06.03.2009

07.09 - 25.11.2012

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Press release

Fabian & Claude Walter Gallery start off the exhibition programme of the New Year with a show of recent works by Michel Huelin (*1962, Saignelégier CH). He will present scenes from a seemingly dreamy and seductive world aimed at stimulating a debate on principles.

A fictitious ecosystem is portrayed in a series of Lambda prints, in which close-ups of wonderfully rampant accumulations of flowers, leaves and stems in bold and vibrant colours float weightlessly in undefined surroundings. Grids, transparent tubes or vessels, small wafts of mist and expressive splashes of digitalized paint intercept these elements. The viewer plunges into a virtual world, a jungle of hybrid objects, half familiar, half alien. The question arises as to the reality or unreality of the viewers' own presence.

Phytotron, the title of the show, terms an experimental facility enabling the cultivation of plants under different climatic conditions. On this note, Huelin digitally creates, generates and calculates a "virtual biotope, in which the elements complement and nurture each other." The artist realises his works with virtual models developed on the computer by means of 3D modelling data. In his own words, he deals "with the concept of a transformed, alienated nature, with manipulation and mutation, with the relation between the species." An extensive pool of digital data has accrued over the years, which according to the artist encompasses "the elements of a very complex virtual world." "To a certain extent I simulate a possible evolution of living and inert matter," Huelin explains, "by changing a number of numerical parameters that determine the reactions between the virtual elements and their fictive environment."

Since 2000 Michel Huelin has been engaging in the debate surrounding biotechnology and genetic engineering, without becoming overtly political. He confronts scientific reason and logic with the intuition and emotions of an informed layman. In addition, Huelin concerns himself with an ambiguous respectively equivocal reference to nature, with phenomena linked to perception and nature, while investigating the borderland between the real and the virtual. "My hybrid images," Huelin explains, "mix references to real nature with fictive organisms and elements taken from painting. Scanned brush strokes that have been integrated into the virtual model cause uncertainty as to what is real and what is virtual."

Michel Huelin does not consider himself a political artist, and yet his questions and doubts regarding gene technology define his virtual biotope and its aesthetics: "The images I create do not lay any claim to reality, this world is not organic but numeric; the fictive chaos alone mushrooms and is quantifiable. I prefer substantiating my doubts by making use of contradictory concepts, mutations, by addressing a sense of trepidation, but also by visualising sensuality and humour. I could say that my pictures are of a deceptive serenity."


Exhibition 24 January - 6 March 2009. Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie, Limmatstrasse - 8005 Zurich. Tel.: +41 (0)4 44 40 40 18. Open Tuesday - Friday 12.00 - 5.30 p.m. and by appointment.

Michel Huelin, Phytotron, Walter Galerie, Zürich

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved