"In the air, flying machines" from March 22 to September 10, 2023


"Since airplanes cover the entire planet, we had to invite artists from all continents, in order to verify how from North to South, from East to West, they have the same fascination and dreams of flight. Not only the contemporary jet-artists who have become tireless travelers, but also the rough artists like André Robillard, Pierre Petit, Giovanni Galli, Giuseppe Barocchi, Jean Smilowski who, amazed by these birds of the air, build, draw and invent in a poetic and obsessive way, small airplanes, sputniks, models, up to conceive like Arthur Vanabelle an airplane farm. Fascinated or terrified, because planes often carry bombs and are therefore linked to war. The exhibition "In the air" thus presents about fifty works of artists, mixing videos, films, installations, paintings, drawings, models and archives."

Marie-Laure Bernadac, curator of the exhibition

"Nothing will ever equal the moment of hilarity that took hold of my existence, when I felt that I was fleeing from the Earth. {...} Then I gave myself up to the view offered to me by the the great masses of nature and the immensity of the horizon. I contemplated the wave of the air and the earthly vapors that rose from the bosom of the valleys and rivers. In the midst of the inexpressible rapture of this contemplative ecstasy contemplative ecstasy, I was the only body illuminated in the air I saw all the rest of nature nature plunged in the shade {...} I was peacefully questioning peacefully all my sensations. I listened to myself, so to speak.

Jacques Charles, engineer, during his first airship trip on the 1stst December 1783.

The inaugural exhibition is organized by Art Explora, invited by the Hangar Y as part of its sponsorship program. It pays tribute to the primary function of the place by choosing flying machines as its theme. Starting from the universal fascination of the human being for flight and the numerous inventions allowing to reach this objective, the curator of the exhibition Marie-Laure Bernadac, in collaboration with Blanche de Lestrange, focused on the way these means of elevation and transport in the air and their transformations over time have inspired artists. If the beginnings of these innovations could be found as early as the Renaissance in Leonardo da Vinci's sketches, and the advent of the first flying machines in the nineteenth century inspired the artistic avant-garde of the early twentieth century as much as many rough artists thereafter, it is also about fifty contemporary artworks made during the last three decades that the exhibition brings together here.

Beginning with a drawing of Jules Verne's great hot air balloon (Jorge Mendez Blake), the exhibition presents a selection of poetic paintings, (Devambez, Spillaert) contemplative or political videos, monumental sculptures playing on the misuse of machines, photographs or models. Dans l'air thus brings together major figures of international artistic creation such as Adel Abdessemed, Doug Aitken, Fiona Banner, Alighiero Boetti, Mircea Cantor, Ali Cheri, Sylvie Fleury, the duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Camille Henrot, Sophie Jung, Robert Longo, Ahmet Öğüt, Laure Prouvost, Shimabuku or Roman Signer, as well as art brut figures such as André Robillard, highlighting their shared interest in the history, technology, form and aesthetics, function or symbolism of these flying objects. The exhibition also highlights fascinating objects and collections around the flying object, planes, airships, collections around the Balloonmania, wind tunnel models, collections of the Museum of Air and Space and archival images to pay tribute to the essential history of this building in aerostation and atraumatic.

The inaugural exhibition is organized by Art Explora, invited by the Hangar Y as part of its sponsorship program

In media partnerships with

The artists presented

Adel Abdessemed (b. 1971), Doug Aitken (b. 1968), Kutluğ Ataman (b. 1961), Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil (b. 1968), Fiona Banner (b. 1966), Giuseppe Barocchi (b. 1971), Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), Robert Breer (1926-2011), Lee Bul (b. 1964), Mircea Cantor (b. 1977), Ali Cherri (c. 1976), André-Victor Édouard Devambez (1867-1944), Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974), V. R. Farné, Sylvie Fleury (b. 1961), Jean-Louis Florentz (1947-2004), Giovanni Galli (b. 1954), Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (b. 1969), Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979), Sophie Jung (b. 1982), Rachel Labastie (b. 1978), Bertrand Lavier (b. 1949), Robert Longo (b. 1953), Vera Lutter (b. 1960), Ibrahim Mahama (b. 1987), Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904), Nelly Maurel (b. 1974), Georges Méliès (1861-1938), Jorge Méndez Blake (b. 1974), Gustav Mesmer (1903-1994), Ahmet Öğüt (b. 1981), Panamarenko (1940-2019), Lucien Pelen (b. 1978), Pierre Petit (1902-1990) and Raymonde Petit (1901-1990), Laure Prouvost (b. 1978), Mohammad Hadi Rahnaward (b. 1986), André Robillard (b. 1931), Hiraki Sawa (b. 1977), Shimabuku (b. 1969), Roman Signer (b. 1938), Jean Smilowski (1927-1989), Charles Spencelayh (1865-1958), Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946), Arthur Vanabelle (1922-2014), Joseph Vignes (1920-2007).

The scenography

The scenography of the inaugural exhibition is directed by the NC agency, created by Nathalie Crinière. The agency has notably signed the scenographies of the Galerie Dior, the Musée Carnavalet and "Shocking! Les mondes surréalistes d'Elsa Schiaparelli" at the Musée des Arts décoratifs. This scenography plays on the obsessive character of a curiosity cabinet of flying objects and is an invitation to discover the imagination of these geniuses and crazy artists.

Agence NC was founded by Nathalie Crinière. It explores all types of exhibitions and museum displays: permanent or temporary, small or large, heritage or thematic, modest or spectacular, cultural or event-based, the agency's signature applies to a wide variety of projects. The agency's activity is spread over the major cultural sites in France and abroad. Driven by intuition and curiosity, Agence NC proposes stagings whose ambition of form and content makes each project unique.

Around the exhibition

A new sound mediation course

12 listening stations (6 for adults - 6 for children) distributed throughout the exhibition, enabling visitors to discover a work in greater detail. Visitors are invited to flash a QR code placed near a work to access the sound content independently with their personal phones.

Who has never dreamed of flying?
The course for children

For the creation of sound pastilles for children (6 - 12 years old), Art Explora invited pupils from the Monnet-Debussy (CM1) and Jules Ferry (CE1) schools in Meudon to share their questions and personal stories around the dream of flying, inspired by 6 works featured in the exhibition. The very young podcaster Auden, 7, from "Podcasts d'Auden", lends his voice in response to the children's reactions, taking them on an adventure adventure of discovery and interaction.

#1 Willing to be vulnerable

Ep. 1

In this episode, Auden takes you to discover the blimp of Korean artist Lee Bul. Look up, it's right above you! But by the way, do you know how a blimp flies?

A sound bite imagined from the installation "Willing To Be Vulnerable" (2022) by artist Lee Bul at the Hangar Y.

#2 Airplane teapot chandelier

Ep. 2

Have you seen this work? Isn't it funny! It's by artist Laure Prouvost. It's time to put your imagination to work! And what do you see behind the plane?

A sound capsule based on the work "Airplane teapot, chandelier" (2019) by artist Laure Prouvost.

#3 The conquest of interplanetary planets

Ep. 3

In this episode, Auden takes you...into space! On board a supersonic rocket imagined by the artist André Robillard to conquer interplanetary planets. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...lift off!

A sound capsule based on the work "La conquête des planètes interplanétaires" (1987) by artist André Robillard.

#4 Dolly

Ep. 4

Auden takes you on a journey of discovery of a strange work and a strange artist: Bertrand Lavier's deflated hot-air balloon! And it's got a funny name too: Dolly. Would you give your flying machine a name?

A sound capsule imagined from the installation "Dolly" (1993) by the artist Bertrand Lavier at the Hangar Y.

#5 The Flying Machine

Ep. 5

What a strange machine! Do you think it can really fly? The artist who created it is called Ali Cherri. He has been dreaming of flying since he was a child! And you, have you ever dreamed of flying?

A sound capsule based on the work "The Flying Machine" (2017) by artist Ali Cherri.

#6 B-58 Hustler

Ep. 6

Take a close look at this work. Do you think it's a painting, a drawing or a photo? And can you tell what it represents? Auden gives you all the answers and more in this new episode!

A sound capsule based on the work "Untitled (B-58 Hustler)" (2010) by artist Robert Longo.

In the footsteps of Elisa Deroche.
The adult course

For the adult section, Nuits Noires revives the figure of Elisa Deroche (1882-1919), French aviatrix and the world's first woman to obtain her to accompany visitors on an imaginary journey inspired by inspired by 6 works in the exhibition. Her voice and knowledge of the world of aeronautical world will illuminate the works with humor and didactic narrative formats (testimonials, archives...).

#1 Willing to be vulnerable

Ep. 1

In this first episode, Elisa Deroche takes you on a tour of one of the emblematic works in the "Dans l'air" exhibition: the metallic airship by artist Lee Bul. To find out more about this installation, which combines power and fragility, let us guide you...

A sound bite imagined from the installation "Willing To Be Vulnerable" (2022) by artist Lee Bul at the Hangar Y.

#2 V1 Barada Jet

Ep. 2

In this episode, Elisa Deroche meets Blanche de Lestrange, associate curator of the exhibition, to talk about the work of the artist Panamarenko. Since the 1960s, this versatile artist, fascinated by flight, has been creating visionary machines...but they don't fly!

A sound capsule based on the work "V1 Barada Jet" (1991) by artist Panamarenko.

#3 Fearless Fetus

Ep. 3

Élisa Deroche takes you on a journey to meet Alberto Santos Dumont, a genius inventor and pioneer of the conquest of the skies! After months of research that took her all the way to Brazil, artist Nelly Maurel documents the aviator's life and exploits in this work created especially for the exhibition.

A sound capsule based on the work "Foetus intrépide" (2022) by artist Nelly Maurel.

#4 Kitfox Experimental

Ep. 4

"Roman Signer is the artist of the explosion! Élisa Deroche meets up with Blanche de Lestrange to discuss the work Kitfox Experimental, a suspended plane...harmless or threatening?

A sound capsule based on the work "Kitfox Experimental" (2014) by artist Roman Signer.

#5 The Lebanese Rocket Society

Ep. 5

"The Lebanese Rocket Society" takes us into the realm of history's forgotten exploits! Let Elisa Deroche guide you through a fascinating work, imagined by artists Joana Hadjithomas and Joreige Khalil, about Lebanon's space adventure in the 1960s.

A sound capsule based on the work "The Lebanese Rocket Society" (2013) by artists Hadjithomas Joana & Joreige Khalil.

#6 First Spaceship on Venus

Ep. 6

In this episode, Elisa Deroche meets a facetious artist, Sylvie Fleury, who has fun hijacking rockets to explore gender issues related to the conquest of space. It is an opportunity to recall how much women have been invisible in the history of invention and space exploration...and above all, it is an opportunity to give them back their rightful place!

A sound capsule based on the work "First Spaceship on Venus" (2022) by artist Sylvie Fleury.

Mediation for families

An accompanying booklet for families, created for the exhibition In the Air, Flying Machines at the Hangar Y, is offered by Art Explora.

This fun and educational booklet, designed by graphic designer Sophie Cure, will be distributed free of charge to children aged 6 to 12. Imagined as a flight sheet, it accompanies young visitors on a journey focused on the discovery of the exhibition. The activities are proposed in the form of stopovers in front of the works. Investigation, drawing and observation games help to awaken the children's eyes and to understand the artists' approach. Once the visit is over, the booklet becomes a paper plane thanks to a folding technique.

Download the digital version of the booklet