A Tribute To Tara

In Collaboration with Fondation TARA Océan

Curator: Stanley Qiufan Chen
Participating Artists:

Maki Ohkojima

Hugo Deverchère

Aurore de la Morinerie

Michel Temman

François Aurat
21 September - 27 October 2019
Shanghai, China
Galerie Dumonteil is delighted to present “Deep Blue — A Tribute to Tara”. As an innovative marine research schooner, Tara uses its scientific expertise and serves as a moving platform on seas to raise awareness on ocean, biodiversity issues and to predict and better anticipate the various impacts of climate change and challenges. For the past fifteen years Tara has been welcoming aboard artists-in-residence. “We are continuing the tradition of the legendary 19th century naturalist expeditions, when sailors, scientists and artists set sail together to share the same experience, each with his individual work and mode of expression,” explains Romain Troublé executive director of the Tara Ocean Foundation.

This is the first exhibition that Fondation TARA Océan participates in China, featuring works by Maki Ohkojima, Hugo Deverchère, Aurore de la Morinerie, Michel Temman and François Aurat,as well as a series of panels and workshops during the exhibition. It is also worth mentioning that Galerie DUMONTEIL will donate 10% of the exhibition profit to Fondation TARA Océan to support its research in marine science and projects about environmental protection. 2019 marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. We sincerely hope that this cooperation will contribute a small part to the common vision of China and France on the aspects mentioned above.

To Raise Awareness on Ocean Protection via Art

“Deep Blue — A Tribute to Tara” features five talented artists from different cultural backgrounds who convey their contemplations and explorations of the ocean in various medium and techniques in the hopes of giving the audience a fresh perspective on the environment and their surroundings.

Maki Ohkojima’s work pursues the origin of life, focusing on the connection between all entities and spirits—humans, the environment, animals and souls, etc. In 2017 Ohkojima was invited to join the Tara schooner for a sailing of one month and a half from Guam to Yokohama. This experience was a unique opportunity to “know more about climate change and what is happening in the seawater. All of the ocean, the forest, the creatures are all connected and humans are just a part of the larger circulation of the universe”. Her previous works focus on the life cycle of the forest and now she is moving her focus from land to the ocean. In the "Memory of 4.6 Billion Years" (2017), the 6-meter-long whale has become the incarnation of the earth and the carrier of countless marine primitive creatures, glowing in the vast galaxy.

Hugo Deverchère is keen to build a world that transcends time and space with his almost scientific approaches, exploring the dimensions and spaces beyond human perception. His work “Cosmorama – Recordings” (2017) has been produced in collaboration with Teide Observatory on Mount Teide in Tenerife, Spain. The work contains a series of images, including stellar star clusters shot by a telescope, pieces of volcanic rocks whose composition is similar to one of some meteors, signs of animal presence collected in a lava desert where NASA tested Curiosity rover before sending it to Mars, and plant shapes gathered in a primal forest witnessing the state of our continent 50 million years ago. By using cyanotype, the artist was able to transfer invisible information collected by infrared photography to images. The shapes recorded, like a prism between reality and its representation, reflect the gap between our opinion to the world and the knowledge we hold.

Aurore de la Morinerie is an artist and fashion illustrator who is interested in the representation of lines and color between the figurative and the abstract. In May 2011, she was invited to join the Tara crew for an art residency onboard between Galapagos islands and Ecuador. During this trip, inspired by the infinite forms of the deep sea, she focused her researches on abstraction and created a series of monotypes “Plankton 1-6” (2015). With training of Chinese painting and calligraphy, the artist combines her color rendering techniques with the experimental and unpredictable process of monotype, through which she depicts the infinite possibilities of the ocean from the microscopic perspective of the planktons.

Michel Temman is the Asia Director of Fondation TARA Océan and has been working with Tara for 7 years, formerly as the editor-in-chief of the Journal Tara Expeditions (2012-2015). Since his early years as a correspondent, Temman has also formed the habit of recording his thoughts and feelings through camera. Inspired by pop art, cubism and surrealism, Temman’s work is based on the study of color and seeks for deep contrast. “Sea Oslo I & II” (2017) originates from Temman’s fascination with the serenity of the ocean and the perfect geometry of its lines. He decided to invite the ocean to float in a new pictorial space — more intimate, vivid, and colorful — as a breath and relief, which pushes the ocean horizon further into minimalism with a strong visual effect achieved by his choice of color combinations.

François Aurat has joined the team of Fondation TARA Océan in 2008. As the Chief Deck Officer of the schooner for ten years, he took part in three expeditions: Tara Ocean (2009-2013), Tara Mediterranean (2014), and Tara Pacific (2016-2018). He came back from those missions with stunning landscapes, breathtaking waves, as well as streets scenes and portraits of the locals. Seeking to retouch the images as little as possible, Aurat gives us the true face of the ocean under his lens. The “Arctic” (2013) was taken on the Northwest Passage at the end of summer, when enormous amounts of small pack ice were floating on the surface of the ocean. Climbing onto the top of the mast, Aurat recorded this magnificent scene in which the ocean was transformed into space, and Tara into a meteor that lights up the sky.

The exhibition is curated by Stanley Qiufan Chen, who is one of the most prominent contemporary Chinese Sci-fi writers known for his stylistic combination of realism and New Wave. Through the observation and consideration of the minute, Chen weaves his thoughts and fantasies on the shared destiny of mankind. At this July’s Summer Davos Forum, Chen witnessed how powerful the ocean is. “A set of interactive programs based on the global warming data reveals when the average global ocean temperature rises by only 2℃, Shanghai, where this exhibition is held, will be completely submerged into a real Atlantis”, Chen recalled. Soon the idea of this exhibition was formed. Chen also points out that through this tribute to TARA, we bring not only the beauty of the ocean in various forms and dimensions, but also global attention to marine ecological issues.

As Romain Troublé, Executive director of the Tara Ocean Foundation, further articulates, “The goal is always the same: to study and understand the impacts of climate change and the ecological crisis on the ocean, with concrete results. And in the spirit of Tara’s entire family, science never goes without art.” At each expedition, artists (but also writers, philosophers and journalists) have always been invited on board, as part of its initiation to raise the general public’s awareness of the ocean, its fragility, and its immense treasures. Thus the marine environment has become for them a place of creation, an encounter of different worlds, towards the ocean.

Nearly 71 percent of the earth surface is covered by seawater — a main factor that influences climate change, whereas only 5 percent of the deep sea has been thoroughly mapped so far. The ocean remains as a ‘deep blue’ secret, immense and profound. For the past 16 years, Fondation TARA Océan have kept its promise. With each expedition, thousands sets of precious data were collected by scientists and experts across various disciplines, through whose persistent efforts we are getting one step closer to the true face of the ocean. Galerie DUMONTEIL is honored to collaborate with Fondation TARA Océan and we sincerely hope that through this exhibition, the audience can learn more about our ocean and the legendary journey of TARA.


Chen Qiufan, also known as Stanley Chan, is a Chinese science-fiction writer, scriptwriter, and translator. Graduated from Peking University with dual bachelor's degrees in literature and fine arts, Chen is a member of SFWA (Science Fiction Writer Association) and President of CSFA (Chinese Science Fiction Writer Association), and have a seat in Xprize Foundation SFAC (Science Fiction Advisory Council).

He has received multiple domestic and international awards including Chinese Nebula Awards, Galaxy Awards and World F&SF Translation Award. His works have been translated into many languages and featured in numerous European and American sci-fi magazines (Chen is also the first Chinese writer ever published on many of these publications). His representative works include “The Waste Tide”, “Future Disease”, and “Censored”. This year, Chen is also the executive curator of the Urbanism Architecture Bi-city Biennale.


Committed to the knowledge and the common good, the Tara Ocean Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Paris, dedicating to the ocean, the environment and research. As a Special Observer at the United Nations, the foundation provides information and education to the younger generations as well as leaders from all continents. Tara has so far, with all her partners, conducted 11 expeditions including four major ones: Tara Arctic (2006-2008), during which Tara drifted in ice around the North Pole for 507 days; Tara Oceans (2009-2013), plankton study mission, during which Tara discovered 100,000 new marine species and more than 150 million genes; Tara Mediterranean (2014), mission to study plastic pollution’s effects on the marine ecosystem, and Tara Pacific (2016-2018), mission to study coral reefs in Asia-Pacific, which led to its first visit to China including stopovers in Hainan, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Shanghai between February and April 2018. A series of educational programs about marine protection were organized during its 15-days stay in Shanghai, while joint-research program and other academic activities were held between Tara and Jiagen, the research schooner of Xiamen University, during its stay in Xiamen.


Built in 1989, Tara is a 36-meter long, 10-meter wide research schooner with a load capacity of 120 tons, operating under the mission of better anticipating climate changes and global environmental crisis. Over the past 15 years, Tara has organized 11 expeditions around the world, reaching more than 60 countries with a cumulative range of 450,000 kilometers. Tara's research team comes from 75 laboratories and research institutions around the world, covering 21 research fields. To understand the true state of the ocean, they have collected numerous of samples and valuable data. Since 2005, Tara has been welcoming aboard artists-in-residence. Dozens of artists from various backgrounds have participated in this initiating program.
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