Simon Boudvin, Ailanthus Altissima

Simon BoudvinAilanthus Altissima

The Peinture Fraîche team is delighted to invite you to a discussion about the book Ailanthus Altissima, Une monographie située de l’ailante with the photographer Simon Boudvin, on Thursday 18 November 2021.

Who are these plants that we come across on our urban walks and that grow in the middle of empty lots, at the edge of our houses, in the backyards of our buildings, along fences, streets and hedges?

For ten years, Simon Boudvin surveyed nearly 700 hectares of eastern Paris in search of ailantes, trees from a so-called “invasive” species. Equipped with his camera, he walked through the streets of Bagnolet and Montreuil to inventory the evolution, proliferation and sometimes disappearance of more than 500 of these plants in the urban landscape.

Between botanical illustration and photography of the city, Ailanthus Altissima offers an iconography conducive to urban ecology. Through this work mixing text and photographs, Simon Boudvin questions the place of trees within urban spaces as well as the relationship between man, the city and the free species that develop there spontaneously. How has the garlic tree adapted to the urban fabric of the sky and to a hostile development policy? How has it been integrated into the field of botany and local cultures? What place do we now offer to these “exotic and invasive” species that appear and proliferate in our cities?

In their postface, Audret Muratet and Manuel Joseph question the pejorative terminology used to designate these “invasive” plants. They underline the social issues that such descriptions imply, pointing out the amalgams and the risk of analogy that could result from the choice of a vocabulary that stigmatises human immigration.

Simon Boudvin studied at the Beaux-arts de Paris in the studio of Giuseppe Penone and at the Paris-Malaquais School of Architecture. A teacher since 2007, he now teaches at the École nationale supérieure de paysage.
Attentive to the changes in the territories he travels through, his work emerges at the crossroads of the fields of art, architecture and landscape. The descriptions, samplings and photographic surveys he produces are the subject of his exhibitions and books. He has previously published Tyndo de Thouars (Éditions P, 2015) and Un nouveau musée (co-edition Accattone and MER Paper Kunsthalle, 2018).

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