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Pascale Gadon Gonzalez

We are lichen

Curator Jean-Marie DALLET

From mai 15 to June 17, 2023

From microcosm to macrocosm,

lichens reflect the image of an ontological coming and going,

  The "other" is at the heart of what makes us live.

Bryoria Meymac.png

"We are Lichen", photographic installation, 2023.

Pascale Gadon's research focuses on ecology, in the sense of oikos logos, a science of the habitat and the interactions of living beings with each other and with their environment.Which leads him to look at hidden worlds. Because the artist considers, like many of his contemporaries, that what we perceive on a macroscopic scale becomes something else on a nanotechnology scale, even though we look at it with the same eye. What relationships can we then perceive in this passage from one world to another? The molecular dimension would lead us according to Gadon to reconsider the notion of individual. At the origin of terrestrial plant life and of all organic forms would therefore be found a mutualistic process:symbiosis

'Since 1995, I have been using photographic processes to vividly represent lichens that I collect in ever-developing series.  Lichens are multiple beings, they have no center , it results from the symbiotic association of partners, usually an algae and a fungus. 

The symbiotic process of lichens simultaneously exhibits two levels of organization. What is "individual" in this one? Invisible process for the neophyte but which nevertheless generates structural variations which are perceptible (fruiting separate from the fungus: apothecium). While the symbiosis is complete and the two structures are exposed separately under the eye of the microscope, while nature allows each of the two individuals to reproduce separately, it only presents a unitary vision. Under these conditions "one" has a complex identity (multiple and one at a time). 

So can we consider the lichen as an in-between between "identity and otherness", as a metaphor for interdependence, as revealing a symbiotic ecosystem? 

This new paradigm encouraged me to see the living differently, to question myself on the forms that such ecosystems can take. Symbiosis is above all an encounter, it is achieved through biological diversity as potential for novelty, it is in reciprocal exchange that this new form of lichen is structured. Scanning or transmission electron microscopy allows us to see the diversity of symbiotic postures in lichens. As a photographer, I wanted to capture these images of contacts, abutments, braces, arrangements, organization inside the lichen world. 

Symbiosis engages possibilities that are neither predetermined nor calculated. As Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing* points out in her book The Mushroom at the End of the World, “arrangements are gatherings that are always open. They allow us to wonder about community effects without having to assume them. [...] The assemblages do not only put together modes of life; they make it. » 

Pascale Gadon-Gonzalez


ISEA 2023 is a major event on the global digital creation scene, aims to strengthen dialogue between artists, researchers, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries. This 28th edition of ISEA has as its theme symbiosis. Pascale Gadon's exhibition is one of this year's satellite events.


Sorbonne Argallery Manager: Yann TOMA.

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