Sébastien Mettraux

18.06.2022 - 28.08.2022

His residency and his exhibition…

In Switzerland, articles 45 and 46 of the law on population and civil protection stipulate that allowance must be made for a fallout shelter close to the home of each resident. In addition to army and civil protection bunkers, the owners of residential buildings in construction must also construct shelters, equip them and maintain them. Switzerland currently numbers a little more than 300,000 bunkers, capable of accommodating 9 million people, equivalent to more than 100% coverage of the total population.

In the series entitled Dernier Paysage I, (Last Landscape I, 2004-2011), the subjects focus on the interior details of bunkers and fallout shelters, spaces destined to protect the population of the country in time of nuclear crisis, war or bacteriological attack. With their sanitized and perfectly ordered character, these deserted and enclosed places containing the strict minimum necessary for survival cultivate an ambiguity: while reassuring in the event of a catastrophe, they also evoke an anxiety worthy of a prison environment.

From a pictorial point of view, Sébastien Mettraux respects the codes of classic Renaissance representation based on perspective, chiaroscuro and modelling, a technique he applies with the help of 3D modelling software. The direct frontal view is reminiscent of the aesthetic of video games and computer-generated images underscore the imaginary character of an eventual use of these places.