Exhibition Turbulences II
28 February 2013 – 01 September 2013

Unlike other so called “stable or balanced” matters, the turbulent processes are extremely touching, irreversible and unpredictable.

The works presented in this exhibition were crossed by fascinating streams and demonstrate the art of playing with turbulence. Far from the threatening turmoil of the constantly announced chaos, they present “turbines” which generate several processes, structures and shapes in the making. The order and the disorder, closely related here, propose a fruitful, dynamic, poetic and captivating universe.

With the following artists :
Yaacov Agam, Basserode, Abdelkader Benchamma, Moon Beom, Angela Bulloch, Pol Bury, Loris Cecchini, Miguel Chevalier, Leo Copers, Elias Crespin, Attila Csörgö, Wim Delvoye, Laurence Demaison, Lionel Estève, Michel François, Adam Fuss, Pascal Haudressy, Joe Jones, Zilvinas Kempinas, Sachiko Kodama, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Bertrand Lamarche, Pe Lang, Eric Le Maire, Etienne-Jules Marey, Shinichi Maruyama, Julie Mehretu, Nicolas Moulin, Moataz Nasr, Giuseppe Penone, Donato Piccolo, Michal Rovner, Petroc Sesti, Roman Signer, Santiago Torres, Cy Twombly, Bill Viola, Jorinde Voigt.

The Boghossian Foundation and Villa Empain

The Boghossian Foundation, established in 1992, has been committed for more than fifteen years to help improve the living conditions, especially in Lebanon and Armenia, by funding numerous educational projects (orphanages, schools and academies), urban development (public areas, parks and installation of drinking water network) and cultural projects (theatres and art centers). In 2006, the Boghossian Foundation acquired the Villa Empain, a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture in Brussels in order to install a Center for art and dialogue between the cultures of the East and the West.

After the complete restoration, this magnificent building opened its doors in April 2010. The Foundation organizes many cultural and artistic activities here.

The Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, partner of the exhibition

Louis Vuitton has always kept a close relationship with art. This particular interest led to the opening in 2006 of the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris. The journey – main theme of the Maison is the guideline for the exhibitions, which give the opportunity to discover new sceneries and new international artists. In this respect, the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton is giving its visitors an unique artistic adventure.

Among the various subjects at the heart of the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton we find: children, music, space discovery and the confusion of senses. The Turbulences exhibition is framed in this context offering not just a simple walk through, but an unique and playful experience. Scrolls of smoke, wakes and washes of ships, turmoil of torrents and waterfalls, the movement creates turbulence.

This is how David Rosenberg and Pierre Sterckx curators of the exhibition introduced the exhibition in Paris in June 2012.

By hosting this new version of the exhibition, called Turbulences II, the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton starts a new cooperation with the Boghossian Foundation.

We have been given an exceptional opportunity by the Espace culturel to spread the exhibition Turbulences from the Villa Empain, a masterpiece of the Art Deco architecture in Brussels.

Moreover, this refined outstanding building enriches this exhibition with the participation of around twenty different artists. Headquarter of the Boghossian Foundation, the Villa Empain is the center of art and dialogue between the cultures of the East and the West.

Spreading from one culture to another and from country to country, the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton joins the movement and invites visitors to discover this new outreach escape, stated Eléonore de Boysson, Director of Réseau Magasins and Marie-Ange Moulonguet, Director of Espace culturel Louis Vuitton.

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Reading, deciphering and following the turbulent movements of matter is an art

By rendering visible its forces and rhythms, turbulence is closely bound up with the notion of chaos. It is because turbulence puts forces in liaison with forms that it is of such supreme interest to artists.

Originally, the word turbulence described the unruly movement of the crowd. Leonardo da Vinci was the very first artist to develop a direct interest in this process, and use the Italian word torbolenza. He was fascinated by hydraulic flows, and made many such drawings, be it machines for lifting and hoisting water, or aquatic and aerial vortices. Leonardo inherited this passion on the part of both the painter and the scientist the man of science for the turbulence of fluids from a handful of ancient scholars Democritus, Epicurus, Archimedes and Lucretius. All these men saw the fabric of matter and the physics of bodies as corpuscular commotions. Of all the artists and thinkers of the latter half of the Quattrocento, Leonardo da Vinci was, without any doubt, the one who best grasped and represented the lyrical and tragic quartering of a new man, between chaotic disorder and the order of reason. In turbulence there is neither straight line, nor angles, and so no spatial enclosures or time limits. Any turbulence in fact transports, transmits, displaces, and connects. Turbulence is a spinning top, a kind of mini-hurricane, which does not stay where it is, and whose circumvolutions, like falls, seem random.

Every period raises once again this issue of turbulence in terms which are at once old-fashioned and new. Turners storms are not Leonardos storms, and yet they share something fraternal. While being part of a great undifferentiated whole which unfurls ad infinitum its emulsions of water and air, they usher in a whole new turbulent machination of chaos. Leonardo lived and created in the age of the horse and the sail, while Turner was the bard of thermodynamics. This kind of option led the painter towards abstraction: the quintessence of a machine is not represented by forms but by functions, forces, and energies. Thus did Pollock push Turner’s fogs towards the unrepresentability of an atomic cyclotron: a total turbulence, the all-over of the whirlwind of particles.

Why do all great artists plunge into chaos and then emerge complete with compositions and harmonies? Because chaotic turbulence is the genesis not only of all forms, but also and above all, of surprising and unheard-of relations, which are incongruous, albeit coherent, between heterogeneous and distant elements. It smithereens all classification, because it plunges forms and conceptual castings into the time-frame of a refrain. Each one of its phases gives rise to new intensities, and brings forth new perceptions, and unexpected signs. We are no longer concerned with a model, or an inner depth. Its flow is a pure arabesque. We no longer know when the refrain of a turbulence will end. For this reason, turbulence is a possible image of the infinite, which can be indefinitely contemplated. At the beginning of the 19th century, the French engineer and physicist Claude Navier and the English scholar Osborne Reynolds were developing the first scientific models of the processes of turbulence. A few decades later, Etienne-Jules Marey (Beaune, 1830 – Paris, 1904) came up with several smoke machines with 11, 13, 21, and 57 channels. These machines forbears of modern aerodynamic bellows and blowers, helped him to make many observations about air flow and turbulence created by different obstacles, such as planes, tubes, and wooden spheres. But they also enabled him to take many photographs while studying turbulent flows with modern instruments. Marey thus ushered in a whole field of visual experiments explored by today’s artists.

Be it with the help of new technologies or rudimentary systems, virtual images or traditional drawings, artists with different backgrounds are exploring the different visual and philosophical potential of the notion of turbulence. They are also producing various systems of graphic, pictorial and sculptural notation, making it possible to map these disconcerting and impromptu movements of matter.

Immersive space and video installations, blowers and turbines, mechanical and magnetic sculptures, coloured projections, but also pictures, drawings and photographs: this exhibition, permeated by constant flows, brings together the works of 38 artists of different nationalities exploring the art of playing and juggling with turbulence in many different ways.

Vortex, flux, acceleration, effervescence: well removed from the threatening breakdowns of total chaos, the works on view here function like turbines which generate processes, structures and forms in the offing. This exhibition-cum-exploration criss-crosses turbulence through five sections, which are so many problematic nodes and dynamic vortices: flows, clouds, graphs, distortions and undulations. And, like that child painted by Chardin fascinated by the sight of a spinning top, turbulences draw us into a reflexive journey, and a contemplative experience: a perpetual re-creation.

David Rosenberg and Pierre Sterckx, curators
Extracts from the introduction of the exhibition catalogue


The Boghossian Foundation would like to thank all those who contributed to the making of this exhibition, especially
David Rosenberg and Pierre Sterckxs, curators, The Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris, official partner of the exhibition and particularly
Marie-Ange Moulonguet, Director, Gilles Moorghen, Responsible for Public and External relations, Catherine Mancier, Head of the Production and Administration, Louis Vuitton Belgium and particularly Nicolas Barré, General Manager Benelux& Nordics.

Exhibited artists

Aly Afshar, Gallery Etemad, Dubaï, art-lenders and external collaborators : Olivier Antoine, Art : Concept Gallery, Paris; Stefan Boumans, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; Massimo Billi, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano ; Rossella Bracali, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano ; Ruyi Cai, Arts-Gallery, Paris ; Anne Chatellier, Service des Archives, Collège de France, Paris ; Pip Chodorov, Re : Voir, Paris ; Gianni Degryse, Studio Wim Delvoye, Gand ; Martine et Thibault de la Châtre, Martine et Thibault de la Châtre Gallery, Paris ; Patrick Derom, Brussels ; Stéphanie Devissaguet, Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille ; Pierre Donnersberg, Paris ; Catherine Gallois, Denise René Gallery, Paris ; Marie Graftieaux, Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin ; Marianna Gelussi, Atelier Elias Crespin, Ivry-sur-Seine ; Claire Güttinger, Service des Archives, Collège de France, Paris ; Abir Hanna, Gallery Etemad, Dubaï ; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels ; Richard Lagrange, Centre national des Arts plastiques, Paris ; Eleonore Lambertie, Yvon Lambert, Paris ; Nick Lesley, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York ; Florian Lüdde, Esther Schipper, Berlin ; Frank Marlot, Denise René Gallery, Paris ; Gilles Marquenie, Patrick Derom Gallery, Bruxelles ; John Mendel, Brussels ; Caroline Naphegyi, Paris ; Marie-Laure Prévost, Brussels ; Silke Schnellhardt, Esther Schipper, Berlin ; Christen Sperry-Garcia, Bill Viola Studio LLC, Long Beach ; Annabelle Ténèze, Musée départemental d’Art contemporain, Rochechouart ; Liam D. van Loenen, Bruce Silverstein, New York ; Elisabeth Van Caelenberge, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels ; Valentina Volchkova, Pace Gallery, Londres ; Nicolas Wierinck, Cimatics AV Platform, Brussels ; Esther Woerdehoff, Paris ; Jacques Zucker, Brussels.