Between art and science fiction, this exhibition will open “the doors of the possible” to you.

Iconic 20th century science fiction novels facing installations, videos, sculptures and collages: the Center Pompidou-Metz creates a dialogue between visual arts and literature to show the “possibilities of all imaginable futures”from the 1950s to today, in an exhibition that runs until April 10, 2023.

She “seeks to bridge the gap between literature and the plastic arts”because more than a literary genre, science fiction is above all “a method of critical thinking”, explains Alexandra Müller, curator of the exhibition. A project that germinated during the Covid-19 epidemic, in the spring of 2020, period “where everyday life looked like science fiction”, according to Ms Müller.

The exhibition is immersive and dense with some 200 works presented. She seeks to “to anchor oneself in the contemporary” and “regain a bit of utopia”, continues the commissioner. The references to novels, genres and sub-genres of science fiction are precise and numerous. But exit the space operaArrakis or very distant galaxies: here, we trade “distant futures” for some “closer worlds, connected to the present” and its political questions, emphasizes Alexandra Müller.

In an original scenography, which breaks the “neutral white cube” from museography to open breaches in the walls, installations spring up everywhere: on the walls, from the ceiling to the floor where videos are projected. Like these Mediterranean Cyborgsby Tunisian artist Aïcha Snoussi, large rolls of paper that fall from the ceiling to join stones, all covered with inscriptions evoking the Arabic alphabet and drawings referring to “a society that is both futuristic and ancestral”. The course is divided into five parts, the titles of which take up the great names of SF, Brave New World from Aldous Huxley to the Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.

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At the entrance to each of the spaces, emblematic novels of the genre are hung, facing videos, paintings, photos, collages and installations: 20% come from the collections of the Center Pompidou in Paris, the rest directly from the artists’ workshops or commissioned especially for the exhibition.

The curator has chosen to present young artists for “infusing a utopian turn”because this generation is “the one who says she’s had enough of dystopias” and wants “designing desirable futures”, emphasizes Alexandra Müller. Other works also show the proliferation of surveillance in our lives, such as this video by Liam Young, In the Robot Skiestelling a budding love story between two young people who try to escape the control of ubiquitous police drones.

Finally, the last part is devoted to non-European imaginaries, in particular to Afrofuturism, which is “normal” to finally see exhibited in an institution like the Center Pompidou: “It was abnormal before crossing spaces in which we did not exist”says Nadia Chonville, a 33-year-old Martinican novelist who wrote an essay in the exhibition catalogue.

Between art and science fiction, this exhibition will open “the doors of the possible” to you.