Rubis Mécénat - Peak Oil, a photographic project by Geert Goiris - Rouen

Rubis Mécénat
Peak Oil, Geert Goiris
December 9th, 2017 - January 14th, 2018


Peak Oil, a commission to the Belgium photographer Geert Goiris by Rubis Mécénat of a photographic project on the industrial landscape. In collaboration with the Frac Normandie Rouen

Exhibition at the Frac Normandie Rouen from 9 December 2017 to 14 January 2018
Monumental exhibition in the port of Rouen from 14 December 2017, in partnership with Rubis Terminal
Release of the book Peak Oil at Roma Publications

Throughout the year of 2017, the Belgian artist Geert Goiris visited 12 industrial sites of Rubis Terminal (subsidiary of the Rubis Group), covering all depots in Europe. The aim of the project has been to develop a photographic series entitled Peak Oil on the contemporary industrial landscape. The photographer visited the ports and the industrial areas of Dunkerque, Rouen, Brest, Strasbourg, Village-Neuf, Saint-Priest, Villette-de-Vienne, Salaise-sur-Sanne, Bastia, Ajaccio, Rotterdam and Antwerp. By using a suggestive and cinematic style, Geert Goiris proposes “an open narrative which hovers between familiarity and alienation, discovery and confabulation.” This photographic commission to an internationally renowned artist is the result of a unique collaboration between Rubis Mécénat and the Fonds régional d’art contemporain (Frac) Normandie Rouen. The collaboration has given rise to four projects: an exhibition at the Frac, two major installations in the Port of Rouen and a book with Roma Publications.

Hence, from 9 December to 14 January 2018, the photographic series by Geert Goiris realized in the Port of Rouen will be presented in preview at the Frac Normandie Rouen. Ten of the exhibited photographs will be donated to the Frac Normandie Rouen by Rubis Mécénat to widen their collection, in particular the photographic fund dedicated to the territory. A portfolio will be published at this occasion, accompanied by a text written by Véronique Souben, Director of the Frac.
From 14 December 2017, an installation will be visible at the Union Portuaire Rouennaise (UPR), located at the entrance of the Port of Rouen and a wallpaper covering one of the massive 12m x 20m tanks of the Centrale depot of Rubis Terminal Rouen will call attention to those working in the Port as well as visitors.
The outcome of the project undertaken in the port of Rouen and the other European terminals of Rubis will be assembled in an edition entitled Peak Oil, published by Roma Publications. The catalogue will be enriched by a text written by the Belgian art critic Steven Humblet and will be released in December 2017.
Lastly, prints from the Peak Oil series will enter to Rubis Mécénat’s art collection.


Peak Oil
“Peak Oil is a photographic project documenting the different storage facilities of Rubis Terminal across Europe in the aim to produce a sequence of contemporary industrial landscapes. These sites are seldom accessible and often hidden from view. Based in zones outside city centres, these complex installations are only noticed by people who work there. Yet, this infrastructure plays a significant role in our society, dependent on oil and fuel. By using a suggestive and cinematic style, I try to assemble an open narrative which hovers between familiarity and alienation, discovery and confabulation. Peak Oil tries to question and modify conventional ways of representing the industry. This project wants to concentrate on corporeality in an industrial environment, and how a landscape of steel and concrete influences the gestures of those who inhabit it. These sites operate around the clock under constant surveillance. Artificial light ensures visibility under all circumstances and bestows a dreamlike presence to the ships, containers, pipelines, wagons, trucks and engines as interdependent elements in a superstructure that seemingly functions autonomously. It is like a complex engine being observed by someone who doesn’t fully understands its principles and mechanics, but who is nevertheless overwhelmed.”
Geert Goiris


Geert Goiris biography
Geert Goiris is a Belgium photographer who lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.
He studied at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels (Belgium), at the FAMU Film and Television Academy in Prague (Czech Republic) and at the Higher Institute
for Fine Arts (HISK) in Antwerp (Belgium). His work became known to a wider international public when he participated at the Manifesta 5 Contemporary Art
Biennial in San Sebastian (Spain) in 2004. The artist is represented by the gallery Art: concept in Paris (France).

Geert Goiris aims to challenge our sense of reality. His pictures present a strangely familiar world which paradoxically seems convincingly real yet unfathomably fantastic. His working method employs a mixture of preparation and improvisation: the sites he visits have been thoroughly researched beforehand and his large format camera requires precise handling; but during the long exposure time anything
can happen. It remains somewhat unpredictable how the film will translate what is experienced into a fixed image. In this sense, the photographic image is never a mere conduit through which we can visually connect to the world out there, but a means to address the essential
difference between “experiencing” and “seeing”. Geert’s work is regularly exhibited at Europe’s renowned art institutions such as the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam (2007), the Wiels
Contemporary Art Center (2010), the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2010), the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg (2011), the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) (2012), the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography in the United States (2015) and Centre Pompidou- Metz (2016). In 2016, the Frac Normandie Rouen devoted a solo exhibition to his work
entitled “Fight or Flight”.


Rubis Mécénat cultural fund
As a responsible company, Rubis has given itself a double goal: undertaking social change in two fields, health and education, and promoting artistic creation through its endowment fund Rubis Mécénat.
Rubis Mécénat supports artistic creation by guiding emerging and mid-career artists in France and abroad, commissioning works for specific sites as well as for the Group’s industrial sites. By collaborating with the local subsidiaries and joining forces with local and international artists, Rubis Mécénat nurtures sociocultural projects at the heart of local communities whilst bringing to young adults an educational artistic programme and the ability to go through life with the practice of the visual arts. Functioning as creative platforms, these artistic and social initiatives constitute a long-term investment which allows support over time as well as immediate follow-up in each territory. These programmes are designed to let personal vocations, future prospects, and new talents come to the fore.
The fund also purchases, from the artists it supports, works destined to be shown in the offices of the Rubis group.


Photo: PEAK OIL AF 22 © Geert Goiris