The Australian artist, Jonathan Jones, very attached to the history of his country, looked at the French expedition led by Captain Nicolas Baudin to the Austral Lands between 1800 and 1804. Sponsored by Napoleon Bonaparte, it is the one of the greatest scientific expeditions in history. This allows many plant and animal species to be brought back to France. Following the instructions given before departure, upon their arrival in France, the kangaroos, black swans, emus, mimosas, and eucalyptus trees are shared between the Paris Natural History Museum and Malmaison Park.
The acclimatization of these species and the research carried out by scientists at the time inspired Jonathan Jones to several works exhibited in France this winter. An immersive installation at the Palais de Tokyo (from November 26, 2021 to February 20, 2022) allows you to discover the boards of the National Herbarium of Paris reproduced in embroidery. They are accompanied, among other things, by a sound work and a film explaining the process and the production of the works.
At the Château de Malmaison (from January 12 to April 18, 2022), the artist presents emus eggs on which are engraved the plants from Étienne-Pierre Ventenat's book Jardin de La Malmaison. These works evoke Josephine's garden embellished with plants from all over the world. They are also reminiscent of the black emu, sent by Baudin, who lived in the gardens of Malmaison, and whose stuffed body kept at the Natural History Museum, is the only representative of this extinct species. The work of Jonathan Jones will be presented in a scenography evoking the historical context of the Baudin expedition and the role of Malmaison in the acclimatization of Australian species in France.
The artist's works will then be visible at Artspace Sydney in the fall of 2022.
Exhibition curators: Aurélie Caron and Emmanuel Delbouis
Château de Malmaison