Fanny Terno & Thomas Vauthier
2023/04/21 - 04/23

capital’s island, 
today’s island, 
friendly murmurs under the 
half-open genkan, 
in the shade we talk, 
the rain, the fine weather, houses 
that lengthen, that stretch, 
the hymn of the shotengai,
the skytree-chan that watches 
over, her belly full of fireflies, 
the alleys that snake and the 
gutter cats, 
corrugated roofs, the fire spreads, 
stopped by the houses, not of 
straw but of stone, 
the newborn sprouts embrace the 
concrete, the asphalt, the earth,
and in the semi-public pots 
exhibited in front of houses, it is 
growing wild and nice, 

in the future atlantis,

Here what we do is 
still alive



This exhibition is rooted in the documentary practice of the duo Engawa, composed of Fanny Terno and Thomas Vauthier. Together, they have been exploring city landscapes since 2016, with a particular interest in Japanese cities and the dynamics of revitalization that are unfolding there. Since 2019, they have been focusing on the city of Onomichi (Hiroshima-ken), after a period of volunteering with the Akiya Saisei Project association, in charge of renovating vacant houses. In 2022, they discovered a distant cousin of Onomichi in Tokyo, the district of Kyojima (Sumida-ku), where Thomas has been living since July. It shares with Onomichi some surprising similarities: The bubbling of contrary and paradoxical forces - where the old hybridizes with the most contemporary, where the pressure to zoning clashes with the resistance of informality, the risk of catastrophe with the serenity of life, the vestiges of old time with the horizon of disappearance. 

Fanny and Thomas sought to grasp these different energies at work and to make them felt. By producing a sort of documentary, but of a somewhat peculiar kind. For once, no human figure. Not even architecture, strictly speaking. But plants. Arrangements. DIY. Animals. Shapes. Textures. The human is there but elsewhere, in the background. 

The human is also in their glances, in their artistic gestures, in these various degrees of agency, of representations. The ballad, the wandering, and the gathering are at the origin of this herbarium of materials : sensations, photographs, found objects. With a particular attention for the spaces in between, both private and public - the front of houses. Spaces of coexistence, of negotiation. Where plant pots (鉢植え, hachiue) are arranged, but also where more informal forms of life also seek to make their nests, in the interstices. Plants, described as "invasive", spontaneous and wild. Mini-altars of greenery are created, arranged with makeshift materials, in the middle of discarded objects. That are like urban sculptures, waiting to be seen at their true value, found sculptures. This is also where birds land, where bees forage, where cats hang out and where Kyojima's turtles spend time. 

These spaces of creativity abound and are particularly vivid in Kyojima. Fanny and Thomas propose the fruit of their gathering, starting from factual representations (photographic) while exploring different modes and degrees of mimesis - from installation to sculpture and painting, while also inscribing their practice in resonance with UNTITLED space's character, through in situ interventions. Like so many attempts to touch, draw out the essence and share these forms of Kyojima vernacular beauty.

ファニーとトマは、これらの異なるエネルギーが働いていることを把握し、それを実感できるようにしようと試みました。それはある種のドキュメンタリーでありながら、少し特殊なものでもありました。今回限りは、人物の姿はなく、厳密には言えば建築物でもない。しかし、植物であり、アレンジメント、DIY、動物、形、テクスチャー… 人間はそこにいながら、他の場所、背景の中にもいるのです。


このような創造的な空間が、京島では特に鮮明に存在しています。ファニーとトーマスは写真という事実の表現から出発し、インスタレーション、彫刻、絵画といったさまざまな様式や擬態の度合いを探求しながら、またその場の介入を通してUNTITLED space の性質と共鳴し、彼らの実践を提案します。京島の風土の美しさに触れ、その本質を引き出し、共有しようとする多くの試みのように

    About the artists:
Fanny Terno (b.1992, Monaco, she) and Thomas Vauthier (b.1993, Paris, France, they/he) are artists-researchers, working together as a duo since 2016. In their transdisciplinary practice, they explore the potential of art as a tool for ecological and social revitalization. They produce street photography and mixed media documentaries, collaborative events, build spatial displays and animate alternative places. They graduated from French art schools (National School of Photography of Arles, Fanny; École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Thomas) and are now enrolled in research-creation PhD between France (Aix-Marseille University, National School of Photography of Arles) and Japan (Kyoto City University of the Arts, Fanny; Tokyo University of the Arts, Thomas). 
They set up experiential situations that attempt to test the potential of a collective making of artistic practice, in the register of inhabitation of exhibition spaces (Sorry, have to live) or in that of the community (Dés-œuvres de jeunesse). Their approach also unfolds around the design of socially engaged situations, whether it is the creation of a participatory canteen (In Vivo, in the National Superior School of Photography in Arles, France), or their involvement in an alternative and rural place, Lizières, a cultural center of residences and socially engaged experiments in France, or the construction of a chashitsu in a depopulated Japanese village (Shashin-an).
Through the use of the photographic medium, they place themselves as witnesses of urbanistic evolutions, documenting cities suffering from the dynamics of devitalization (Onomichi Monogatari) and forms of urban nature, whether they are only decorative (Transfiguration) or, on the contrary, whether they manifest a kind of informal survival (Kyoto Survey).
Their projects have been exhibited in Kyoto (Yokai Soho Gallery, French Institute of Kansai/Kyoto, Tomo Gallery), Tokyo (Spiral Art Center, Nakacho no ie), and in France (Grand Palais, Le Huit Gallery, La Capela, La Générale, École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles, Ricard Foundation); and discussed in many institutions (Kyocera Museum, National Institute of Art History, National Library of France, Aix-Marseille University, École Nationale Supérieure du Mans, Cité Internationale des Arts).

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