UTC goes MET art-wise

From Novem­ber-10 to Decem­ber 2, in the show­room of the Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Cen­tre, more than twen­ty stu­dents organ­ised the UTC’s first art exhi­bi­tion as part of its 50th Anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tions. The MET, an acronym for ‘On Monte une Expo­si­tion Tem­po­raire’ and a clever wink to New York’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art, show­cased the mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary work of UTC stu­dents and alum­ni. When art and engi­neer­ing find com­mon ground and break down the bar­ri­ers between dis­ci­plines, the MET res­onat­ed with the University’s phi­los­o­phy of openness.

Vivants [Alive], with an s. This was the theme of the first UTC art exhi­bi­tion, which took place from Novem­ber 10 to Decem­ber 2 in the show­room of the Inno­va­tion Cen­tre, avenue de Land­shut, Com­pieg­ne. This theme emerged from the forty or so entries received by the twen­ty or so stu­dents involved in the project. The project was born out of a deci­sive meet­ing in July between Samuel Veillerette, Direc­tor of the UTC’s new Socio-Eco­nom­ic Part­ner­ships and Entre­pre­neur­ship Depart­ment (DPSEE or DΨ), launched in May 2023 and Manon Gar­cia, a 4th year stu­dent major­ing in Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and Pres­i­dent of the MET asso­ci­a­tion, which was set up in Sep­tem­ber for the occasion. 

Between paint­ings, draw­ing, sculp­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy, embroi­dery and video, the exhi­bi­tion revealed the cre­ative diver­si­ty of the fif­teen or so artists select­ed and «the pool of stu­dents at the UTC who are sen­si­tive to dif­fer­ent cul­tures», empha­sis­es Manon Gar­cia who, hav­ing stud­ied fine arts dur­ing her gap year and done a work place­ment in a cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion agency in Paris, took on board a whole group trained in project man­age­ment as part of a ded­i­cat­ed CC course. “Art is not just for the elite,» she con­tin­ues. Show­ing that areas that may seem far apart can inter­act in a fes­tive and play­ful way also intro­duces peo­ple to oth­er aspects of the human expe­ri­ence. A num­ber of musi­cal and chore­o­graph­ic events and guid­ed tours have also been organ­ised to enhance the dis­cov­ery of these visu­al arts. 

The joint objec­tive of the DPSEE and the MET is to revi­talise the Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Cen­tre, enabling engi­neer­ing stu­dents to trans­fer their inno­va­tion and project man­age­ment skills to the cul­tur­al envi­ron­ment, and to work towards pro­mot­ing the arts and cul­ture pro­fes­sions, in par­tic­u­lar that of artists from UTC and the Com­pieg­ne region. Manon Gar­cia sees the exhi­bi­tion as «a con­tem­po­rary space for reflec­tion, a crash test that is both ephemer­al and sus­tain­able, which could lead to a new par­a­digm for cre­ativ­i­ty at UTC». The DPSEE and MET plan to cap­i­talise on this first expe­ri­ence, on the tech­ni­cal and reg­u­la­to­ry achieve­ments and the con­tacts that have been made in set­ting up this project.

Graphic novel and terracotta

One of the guest artists is Paul Boinet, a UTC grad­u­ate who has been work­ing as a process and indus­tri­al trans­fer engi­neer in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try for the last ten years or so in Rouen. Although he has been involved in so called “pro­tean art” since the age of 17, the thir­ty-yearold alum­nus had nev­er exhib­it­ed before. «To show my work is to lay myself bare and expose myself to crit­i­cism. But a work must also be seen by the pub­lic. The UTC offers this friend­ly and benev­o­lent test envi­ron­ment», he explains. 

His work on a graph­ic nov­el, a kind of com­ic strip page whose sin­gu­lar dynam­ic con­struc­tion blends togeth­er draw­ing and paint­ing in a kind of pic­to­r­i­al poet­ic renew­al form, illus­trates the pas­sions that dri­ve us and the pos­si­ble con­ver­gence of dis­ci­plines. «The MET offers an inter­est­ing dia­logue between works of art. It decom­part­men­talis­es art and sci­ence, opens our eyes to the oth­er and gives us a glimpse of some­thing oth­er than the cur­ricu­lum we are fol­low­ing or have fol­lowed. While I’ve been inter­est­ed in the phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy of visu­al objects, mate­ri­als engi­neer­ing and cog­ni­tive sci­ence, art opens up your mind and your appetite for oth­er things. I’m quite proud to be exhibit­ing at UTC, which has been a great high­light of my life and the place where I nur­tured this cre­ative urge.» 

Valérie More­au was a research sci­en­tist and lec­tur­er in Indus­tri­al Engi­neer­ing at UTC 2008–2022, but is now on leave to devote her­self full-time to sculp­ture, ter­ra­cot­ta and bronzes. This alum­na, who «thinks she was an artist before she became an engi­neer» and has been mak­ing a liv­ing from her art since 2003, already has sev­er­al exhi­bi­tions to her name. Notably with the Galerie Béné­dicte Gini­aux in Berg­er­ac, whose part­ner­ships have opened up var­i­ous inter­na­tion­al con­tem­po­rary art venues in Paris, Lille, Mont­pel­li­er, Lyon and Rennes. In Octo­ber, she moved to the Palais-Lionel Fibleuil gallery in Le Tou­quet. «Artis­tic expres­sion, this need to do and say things, has always been with me. Clay was a rev­e­la­tion for me. I think in 3D and that’s how I express myself best. 

At the Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Cen­tre, two impos­ing sculp­tures show­cased her most recent plas­tic explo­rations, hybrid cre­ations based on the liv­ing world, in keep­ing with the theme of this first MET. «Inte­grat­ing art into engi­neer­ing school gives us a more sen­si­tive approach and a chance to recon­nect with liv­ing things. It makes sense. We had been think­ing for a long time that the Inno­va­tion Cen­tre should be used in this way. The will­ing­ness of the stu­dents and the new Direc­tor of Part­ner­ships to sup­port them con­tributed to the suc­cess of this first exhibition.»

Le magazine

Avril 2024 - N°62

Faire face aux enjeux environnementaux

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