Chaleur humaine is a large-scale exhibition presenting over 250 works by nearly 130 artists, primarily living and working in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The exhibition features works of art, design and architecture from public collections — including the Centre Pompidou National Museum of Modern Art and Centre National des Arts Plastiques, along with regional museums and FRACs collections — as well as newly-commissioned pieces. Chaleur humaine covers the period from 1972 to the present day, marking the end of the post-war boom and the dawn of an age of eco-anxiety.
The exhibition is curated by Anna Colin and Camille Richert, with assistance from Henriette Gillerot.
Chaleur humaine's eight chapters are encountered at the LAAC museum, the FRAC Grand Large Hauts-de-France, the former AP2 shipyard and a range of public spaces in Dunkirk. Across the chapters, the show explores themes such as oil, nuclear energy, anthropogenic landscapes, bodies at work, fatigue, pollution, cars, recycling, sustainability and the future.
Research into public collections has highlighted the evident underrepresentation of female artists in the period spanning the 1970s to the 2010s. Part of the curatorial approach has been to restore the balance, focusing on equality and diversity, and prioritizing women and minority artists in the commissioning process, in particular public art works, some for the length of the Triennale, others permanent.
Thirteen artists were commissioned to produce works for the exhibition spaces at the LAAC museum and the Frac Grand Large Hauts-de-France. Six others were asked to create a series of artworks for the AP2 hall. These include: Pierre Antoine, Agathe Berthaux Weil, Pablo Bronstein, Mathis Collins, Ève Gabriel Chabanon, Rob Crosse, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Dominique Ghesquière, Vibeke Mascini, Cédric Noël and Mira Sanders, Francesc Ruiz, Sara Trillo, and Mawena Yehouessi. Chaleur Humaine also provided an opportunity to commission works for the urban realm from Yemi Awosile, Io Burgard, Tiphaine Calmettes, Élise Carron and Fanny Devaux, Jean-François Krebs, and Lisa Ouakil.
Chaleur humaine has further prioritised local networks and crossovers; fostering solidarity between educators, carers, and knowledge and culture producers. In particular, artists were invited to take up residencies and develop unique projects with local partners, such as Tiphaine Calmettes and Hugh Nicholson. Yemi Awosile is hosting workshops for students from the École Supérieure d'Art | Dunkerque-Tourcoing, while Io Burgard has created an interactive module with children from MECOP in Saint-Martin-Boulogne. Through the Résonances initiative for Chaleur humaine, Caroline Le Méhauté has settled at Quadrilatère de Beauvais, and Kristof Vrancken at L'Espace 36 in Saint-Omer and Château Coquelle. Zoé Philibert, at Fructôse, is working with Dunkirk audiences on the creation of posters to be displayed in public spaces.
Centre National des Arts Plastiques and Centre Pompidou are partners of Frac Grand Large – Hauts-de-France and of the LAAC in Dunkirk. The Triennial also partners with the Dunkirk Contemporary Art Association and the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Littoral Hauts-de-France. The event has received funding from the French Ministry of Culture through the Hauts-de-France regional directorate of cultural affairs (DRAC) along with support from the Hauts-de-France regional council, the Dunkirk/Grand Littoral urban community and the City of Dunkirk.