The New Green


The project concerns the establishment of a contemporary myth, of The New Green company, established in 2015, that has made the first discovery of a formula that converts the green color found in nature into blue. The company applies this formula to gardens all around the world by taking a plant-based blue pigment bringing it back to its natural habitat thus cultivating an oneiric environment that rescues lost dreams. Through its commercial campaign, the company presents a new trend of worldwide change that starts with the conversion of the natural landscape and promises that the embrace and acceptance of this transformation can make the impossible a reality.

Commercial posters of The New Green company, around the city of Albi.

From the hanging gardens of Babylon and the ancient Egyptian ones, to the gardens of the Roman Age and the Islamic, Renaissance, and Baroque, we encounter the garden playing, inter alia, games of power and ownership.

Whoever owns the garden is transformed into a person of power, a monarch and the garden into evidence of his power and authority, both economical and political; becomes an attempt to tame and transform nature, a reconfiguration that followed, among other things, the political developments of the state.

At the same time, we are witnessing the history of colors as a complex cultural construction, as a social product. Among them, Blue prevails as the color that man reproduced, created, and tamed with more difficulty and delay compared to all the others. One that emerged from plants and added to the wealth of countries (e.g., Spain, France); which were then transformed into "blue gold" after becoming more valuable than actual gold; a color that was established as Romanticism's fruit, ending up being the absolute political color expressing the principles of order and democracy.

The capital of the Blue Gold

Albi was one of those cities. From the middle of the 15th century, the region of Albi flourished thanks to the trade in saffron and especially pastel: the Occitan name for the Woad (from the cabbage family) plant that produced a blue dye. Albi had a tremendous economic expansion connected to the culture and trade of the Pastel or «Isatis tinctoria» in which pasteliers masters take a pigment from the plant, which yields 7 variations of blue and serves essentially to dye materials. Woad was sent all over Europe and Albi became famous and wealthy for its production of this crop and traded with customers throughout France, Flanders, England and Spain.

By becoming the «capital of the blue gold», Albi grew in size and its habitants built themselves luxurious Renaissance style houses in and around the city,which glorify the ancient centre and even today testify to this prosperity. The growing of woad ensured wealth for the bourgeois merchants who played a major role in the life of the town.

At the same time, we are witnessing the gradual birth of the national, military, and political blue. Hence, in France we encounter the blue of the royal coats of arms, which was established as the color of monarchy in the 13th century, turning into the color of the state and of the government and, later, of the nation; that, eventually, led to the birth of the ‘political' blue, the color adopted by both the defenders of democracy and the liberals but also by the conservatives.

Albi welcomes The New Green

The New Green, developed a fiction narrative linked to Albi’s history and its advertisement campaign promoted to Albi’s people today that the company’s vision is based on Albi’s traditional Pastel production methods that had started in the 15th century. TNG’s scientists, technologists and specialized gardeners following the Albi example, developed and improved Albi’s techniques that take the Blue from plants and return it to Green. The New Green paying homage to Albi, promoted this history and technique in order to retransform the city into the capital of BLUE GOLD, giving back to Albi its old glory and wealth.
Through its advertising campaign, slogans, posters, flyers and banners, the performers (TNG’s specialists) standing at the public space of Albi were calling people to discover what you never dared to do, travel where you never imagined, explore the irrational, believe in the unattainable, and feel part of a whole that you have never before experienced.
Albi welcomes The New Green, 2016,
Installation view at Center of art Le Lait, Blue window filters, photos on aluminium.

At the same time a fiction narrative was born that linked Albi’s important historical personalities and elements, with the history of The New green company.

«Lapérouse, the famous French navigator during his exploring trip on the exploration vessels, La Boussole and L’astrolabe, had among other famous scientists, a great botanist from Albi, who knew about Blue’s natural benefits. The scientist designed special framed boxes and put the Pastel plants inside, transporting them in order to cultivate blue all over the world. The ships and the plans for pastel vanished at sea, and now 227 years later, TNG brings this dream that resided inside the vision of the blue pastel back to the people of Albi.

Leon Aussel, landscape architect of Parc Rochegude, discovered the well hidden secret of blue from pastel and tried to apply it in the Parc Rochegude. (Unfinished sketches are in the archive of Mediateque library).

Do you know the whole truth about the painted blue rabbit that existed at the City Hall painted on the roof?»

Part of the texts included into the brochure of the fiction company The New Green
The performance was repeated at the opening of the exhibition “Remember the present”, where the narrative brought to life the characters and elements as well as company’s linked past with Albi and the possibilities of the nature’s change into blue, that made people wondering, believing, suspecting, dreaming, doubting, hoping.

Residency at the center of contemporary art Le Lait, Albi.
February to April 2016:
Special thanks to Le Lait team for the great collaboration and for helping me so much in every step : Jackie-Ruth Meyer, Claire Bachellerie, Thomas Boudineau, Murielle Edet, Michèle Ser, Hélène Lapeyrère, Guillaume Rozan, Laurene Berthet,