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#5 – Green Soul, a cultural commitment

The Green Soul, L’anthropocène, cultures et imaginaires cycle, conceived for the Fondation by art historian and exhibition curator Paul Ardenne, aims to provide as complete a picture as possible of the anthropocenic ‘spirit of the age’, prodigal of the “Green Soul”.

#5 – The intellectual movement and the conception of a new pro-Earth language. Green Soul, a cultural commitment.


The “Green Soul” (i.e. the disposition to a harmonious relationship with living things) can only emerge in us at the end of a process of self-reconstruction. It’s all about re-establishing a lost relationship with the living, the biotope, the biosphere, the cosmic, by ridding ourselves as far as possible of our modern dependence on the artificial world – and doing so with the utmost sincerity. In this light, living in an artificial world is a form of corruption, whereas ridding ourselves of artificiality brings us closer to what’s essential, in skin-to-skin contact with the substance of the natural physical world, or what’s left of it. From this movement alone of relearning the self can arise an authentic ecological culture.

This talk focuses on an essential factor in the construction of the positive side of Anthropocene culture: the development of a close, even intimate, physical relationship with living things. Ecology, as much as a good understanding between humans and their environment, is a matter of incorporation. It’s about embodying the body of the “redux”, the one who has “returned”. The aim is connection, fusion, the body-world.


Paul Ardenne has a degree in History and a doctorate in Arts and Art Sciences. He is a contributor to the journals Art press, Archistorm and INTER-Art actuel, and is the author of several books: Art, l’âge contemporain (1997), L’Art dans son moment politique (2000), L’Image Corps (2001), Un Art contextuel (2002), Art, le présent (2009), Un Art écologique. Création plasticienne et anthropocène (2018), L’Art en joie. Aesthetics of joyful humanity (2023). He is also a novelist and specialist in architecture (Terre Habitée, 2005; La Bonne ville, 2019; Le Boost et le frein – Comment l’humain bâtit au 21e siècle?, 2021…).

As a curator of contemporary art, Paul Ardenne has designed numerous exhibitions, the most recent of which are “Dendromorphies. Creating with trees” (Paris, 2016), “Courants verts. Creating for the environment” (Paris, 2019) and “L’anthropocène et après” (Saint-Denis de la Réunion, 2020). He has produced several programmes on France Culture devoted to art in the age of the Anthropocene (“L’art est l’environnement“, January 2023) and is a regular contributor to the series of programmes The World in Images, on the ARTE television channel.



In partnership with ESA Saint-Luc Bruxelles School, Master in Social Innovation Design.