Renée Renard’s installation displayed in the Chronic Desire exhibition is entitled The Most Beautiful of My Possible Lives and was made in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Technologies of the “Regele Mihai I” University of Life Sciences of Timișoara. Located in one of the side rooms of the central hall of the “Corneliu Mikloși” Museum, the project presents a work space where the scientific research laboratory and the artist’s studio converge to initiate a dialogue between art and science.

The project relies on an episode in Renée Renard’s past, when she was rejected at the entrance exam at the Faculty of Agronomy. It was a moment that marked her destiny and made her follow a different career, which has, however, led her to many achievements. Her installation is a circle that closes after an introspective look at that turning point seen from the perspective of a mature artist, who looks back and rethinks her path and the unfulfilled dream of her youth.

Renée Renard decided to draw a parallel between artistic creativity, the desire for free experimentation constrained only by imagination, and scientific creativity, which is based on concrete, measurable and quantifiable data. Consequently, she divided the space into the artist’s work table – a corner of the studio where small works are exhibited in Petri dishes, representing personal interpretations of microscopic scenes and root sections – on the one hand, and the tables of the laboratory, on which various plants, substances and objects are displayed – microscopes, containers and Petri dishes containing cell cultures and seed tissues – on the other hand. The two types of languages, artistic and scientific, appear to be different, but the approach behind them is presented as similar. Both languages are marked by search and doubts, success and failure, dead ends or new, unexpected directions. Ultimately, both the artist and the researcher have the same purpose: to discover the world and to make it a better place, according to their profession and to the best of their abilities. The artist’s work table is the place where she discovers the world and tries to transform it; work is done at the three tables of the laboratory in the same way and with the same purpose in mind.

The interaction between the two fields is the result of Renée Renard’s nostalgic search, through which she imagined what it would have been like to work in areas such as horticulture, floriculture or applied technologies. All the works in the space are white, as they symbolise an unfulfilled stage or a “colourless” dream – as the artist describes it – that could not come true. The seven flowers hanging on one of the walls are projections of how she would have cultivated plants using the technical processes of flower farming. Another flower with large and long roots refers to the common theme that the artist has approached in her various projects in the past ten years, that of searching for one’s roots, one’s origins. The roots are visible in both dimensions of the installation and thus become a common denominator. They can be examined under the microscope on the first table, or admired on a shelf full of in vitro plant cultures.

The Most Beautiful of My Possible Lives is the first stage of Renée Renard’s collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Technologies. The second is to be held at the Young Naturalists’ Resort in Timișoara this autumn, under a new exhibition of Avantpost group, to which the artist belongs. The researchers involved in this project are Professor Dorin Camen, Associate Professor Mihaela Moatăr, Associate Professor Cristian Berar, Lecturer Adriana Ciulca, Professor Irina Petrescu, Professor Marcel Danci, Professor Ioan Sărac, Lecturer Cerasela Petolescu, Lecturer Giancarla Velicevici, Lecturer Andreea Petcov.

You can read more about the artist’s other projects in the article “Renée Renard. Art as a tool for healing in communities” in the 7th issue of Artsens, available online on the website. Her installation can be seen at the “Corneliu Miklosi” Museum until 23 April, 2023, when the Chronic Desire closes.