Burgeoning Polyscopic Vista

Digital color print on self-adhesive vinyl film

515 x 801 cm

Installation view at Curie Institut, Saint-Cloud, France
Photo: Jiayun Deng — Galerie Chantal Crousel


Press Release

Curie Institute and Galerie Chantal Crousel are pleased to present Haegue Yang's art commission, Burgeoning Polyscopic Vista (2023). Developed specifically for the lobby of the Curie Institute’s new building in Saint-Cloud, this unique and expansive wallpaper draws on its history, its noble mission, and its leading role in oncology. Combining photographs from the lab, the archive, and beyond, Yang creates a window towards generative fields, where knowledge, reality, and vision offer a new environment.

Set against a calm light gray monochrome background, the wallpaper is informed by Yang’s interest in the technology of medical imaging, such as X-rays, CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and ultrasound. These various technologies, as hidden aspects of the activities of diagnosing and treating, are less accessible to the broader public. The primary composition is clearly central and frontal. An electron microscope and MRI images of the brain form the center of the wallpaper, connecting downwards with a historical photograph of a young Marie Curie on each side, focused on her arm and profile. A fine net spins around and connects the elements, resembling a neuron system transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

Burgeoning Polyscopic Vista grows further to the periphery with more quotidian hospital hardware such as pipes, hoses, test tubes, and measuring instruments, extending outward in a dynamic winding movement, among all the other images taken in the lab of the Institute. From this rather common equipment, healing plants like ginseng, fern, sage, rosemary, and the Rose of Jericho emerge and flourish.

From a distance, the central composition almost appears as a crab with protruding pink eyes, a subtle reference to the crustacean being a symbol for cancer. Around 400 B.C., Hippocrates is said to have named masses of cancerous cells karkinos—Greek for crab.

In its entirety, Burgeoning Polyscopic Vista provides a unique view from this complex combination of the micro and the macro, the obvious and the hidden, and the historical and the contemporary, reflecting the ‘real’ and actual existence of the institution as a wholesome unity. It appears as an organism on its own, combining elements from traditional and high- tech medicine and alluding to the Curie Institute’s primary mission of research, teaching, and treating cancer.


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