Sophie Bouvier Ausländer (b. 1970) takes over MBAL’s historic exhibition space with Mare Vostrum. This monumental, in-situ installation by the Swiss artist was inspired by Marie NDiaye’s novel Three Strong Women (winner of the 2009 Prix Goncourt). In a piece that combines drawing, painting and sculptural elements, kilometers of barbed wire are wound together as if in movement, gathering up dust and strips of paint along the way. One spherical form evokes tumbleweeds, those desert plants that break free from their roots when they dry and are sent whirling away by the wind. Migration is a dominant theme in this installation, and its title – ‘your sea’ in Latin – is a reference to the Italian government’s Operation Mare Nostrum (‘our sea’) carried out between 2013 and 2014 to rescue refugees crossing the Mediterranean. Formed from an accumulation of disparate elements collected along its path, Mare Vostrum represents peoples swept up by winds of change that have built into an unstoppable storm.
The artist is represented by Heinzer Reszler Gallery in Lausanne.