To celebrate its 50th birthday, Geneva’s Natural History Museum invited two artists to transform parts of the building. French artist and engineer Alexandre Dang graced the windows with his dancing solar art, and Nicolas Righetti, a photographer from Geneva, created a photographic installation called “Guided Visits!” (Visites Guidées!).
Dang’s provocative work comprising 2,000 solar-powered dancing figurines prompts questions about solar energy and future biodiversity. The figurines, which belong to eight animal species, invade the windows of the building and dance to the power of the sun.
One species represented, the Gelyelle de Monard, symbolizes the fine diversity and fragility of our environment. It exists only in Switzerland, in the canton of Neuchâtel, in the Gorges of the Areuse. The tiny lobster, one third of a millimetre long, was discovered in 1988 by Pascal Moeschler.
Alexandre Dang was a scientist before he was and artist and works on themes related to sustainable development, in particular solar energy. He has exhibited in museums in China, Columbia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Belgium, Spain, USA and France.
Nicolas Righetti’s photographic installation entitled “Visites Guidées!” aims to reveal what happens when people visit the museum and confront the animal kingdom. Many of his photographs contain images of local celebrities such as the ever-popular cross-dressed comedian Marie-Thérèse Porchet roaring in front of a lion. The photographs are displayed throughout the museum and its grounds.
Righetti, who has travelled the world capturing images for Swiss and international newspapers, such as Newsweek and the New York Times, developed an interest in megalomaniac political figures. This interest drew him to North Korea where he produced the original and stylistic film “A guided visit to North Korea“, which won a prize awarded by the City of Geneva.
These installations are guaranteed to get you thinking about the future relationship between mankind and the animals inhabiting our lonely blue planet, as it floats through the endlessness of space.
Geneva’s Natural History Museum is Switzerland’s largest. Its fascinating collections, designed to explain the world and animal kingdom around us, are spread over four floors.