Implanted Spirit (Esprit Implanté)

Tourcoing, France, 1991

Le Fresnoy
Presented by Les Arts Etonnants
Funded by The French Ministry of Culture, Tourcoing la Creative

Five multi-media artists – Ackroyd & Harvey, Alain Fleischer, Matt Mullican and Stephen Taylor Woodrow were invited ‘to stage their highly unpredictable activities’ in chosen sites at Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing as apart of the first exposition of Les Arts Etonnants.

The deserted 1930s leisure centre was about to undergo a major architectural redesign and refurbishment to prepare for the prestigious Ecole d’Art du Fresnoy.

Inhabiting the caretaker’s apartment housed within Le Fresnoy, Ackroyd & Harvey created an intense domestic scale installation in six rooms, which reflected the overlapping layers of memory and decay prevalent in the long disused building. Playing with many natural elements which had already begun to intrude into the rooms, the interior walls were grown, floors flooded, ceilings were drilled with rain-holes, tables and furniture covered with grass and moss, conserved objects were placed in rooms and incorporated into the organic encroached environment. The bathroom was an explosion of mould and fungi. The fissured flat roof of the apartment was cast in a canvass of grass roots and stretched and hung on an interior wall.

In a small room Ackroyd & Harvey experimented for the first time with imprinting an image onto a growing wall of grass. Projecting a negative image of the storeroom containing all the large neon letters for Le Fresnoy, onto a growing wall of grass, the results were astonishing. The grass revealed an extraordinary sensitivity to light and the ability to print a living photograph was first realised.