Facing the Weather
Bigert & Bergström
Face au temps/Facing the Weather is the title of a monumental artwork by Bigert & Bergström, created at the invitation of staff members at Saint-Denis hospital complex in the Paris region. The group commissioned this piece out of their desire to introduce art into the hospital, for the benefit of both patients and employees.
The commission centers on the hospital’s historical wing, a medical surgery building in the Functionalist style dating from the 1970s that defines the site with its imposing volume, in contrast to the units built more recently. The building needed some care and restoration, particularly the central part of its facade, where the decorative elements in front of the window columns were falling into ruin—the concrete had deteriorated since the era of its construction due to weather and age. To rectify this disrepair and its negative associations with illness, the group decided to work together to replace this damaged part of the structure with an art commission—a work in dialogue with the architecture that could also address a socially and culturally diverse audience.
Directed by Mari Linnman, curator for the Fondation de France’s New Patrons program, the group entrusted their project to the Swedish artist duo Bigert & Bergström, who have made numerous artworks that engage issues around the climate, the biosphere, and the relationship between mankind and the environment.
With the work Facing the Weather, Bigert & Bergström confront the impact of the climate on the human organism and its well-being. The work is composed of two large stainless-steel reliefs. The artists borrow symbols used in meteorology, including isobars, hot and cold fronts, wind, rain, clouds, and sun, and arrange them to form an imaginary map where several climatic zones merge.
The project is part of the New Patrons program, initiated by the Fondation de France, which enables people confronting societal issues or developing a property to involve artists in their endeavor through the commissioning of an artwork.