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In 2019, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presented Trees, an ambitious exhibition devoted to trees, these exceptional living beings with unexpected faculties and yet widely threatened today.

Omnipresent, essential to life, the little-known living organisms that are trees have begun to generate a growing interest on behalf of the public, as evidenced by the international success of several recent books and movies devoted to the subject. Underestimated by biologists for a long time—like the entirety of the plant kingdom—in recent years they have been the subject of scientific discoveries that have allowed us to see these organisms in a new light. Interestingly, some of these are amongst the oldest and largest members of this community of living things. Boasting sensory and motor skills, capable of communication, existing in symbiosis with other species and the climate, trees are equipped with unexpected faculties whose discovery confirms what traditional knowledge has long since incorporated. The veil has been lifted on a fascinating world—the world of ‘plant intelligence’—which could be the answer to many of today’s technological and environmental problems.

The Fondation Cartier published a catalogue allowing readers to discover all of the works presented in the exhibition through almost 500 images, as well as a rich ensemble of scientific and critical texts. Combining the work of painters, photographers, architects, sculptors, philosophers, botanists and climatology specialists, this publication highlights the beauty, ingenuity and biological wealth of trees, plunging the reader into the fascinating world of these heroes of the living world.

Editor Publication Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
Languages French and English versions

Hardback, 24 × 31.5 cm, 376 pages
500 color and black- and-white reproductions

Design Undo-Redo
ISBN 978-2-86925-145-8
Release July 2019

Bruce Albert

French anthropologist Bruce Albert is honorary research director at IRD, the French Research Institute for Development in Marseille, and a fervent defender of the Yanomami people of Brazil, with whom he has been working and visiting since 1975. He is the author of numerous articles and several books on Yanomami ethnography, the situation of indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon, and the ethics of anthropological research, including The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013) and Yanomami, l’esprit de la forêt (Paris: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2022), both with Davi Kopenawa.


Emanuele Coccia

Italian philosopher Emanuele Coccia has been an associate professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris) since 2011. He initially studied agronomy before focusing on philosophy and philology. After receiving his PhD in Florence in 2005, he was a visiting scholar at the universities of Tokyo (2009), Buenos Aires (2010), and Düsseldorf (2013–2014), then Columbia (2015–2016) and Harvard (2022). He is the author of Sensible Life: A Micro-Ontology of the Image (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture and Metamorphoses (Medford: Polity, 2019 and 2021), as well as Philosophie de la maison (Paris: Rivages, 2021).


Misha Gromov

Franco-Russian mathematician Mikhaïl Leonidovitch Gromov, emeritus professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES), has lived in France since 1981. He has received several distinctions, including the Abel Prize in 2009 “for his revolutionary contributions to geometry.” He is known for his work in various areas of geometry, notably Riemannian geometry, geometric group theory, and symplectic topology. In addition to analysis and algebra, he is interested in mathematical contributions to biology.


Francis Hallé

French botanist and biologist, Francis Hallé is a specialist in tropical rainforest ecology and the architecture of trees. From 1986 to 2003, he directed numerous scientific missions exploring the canopies of tropical forests using the blimp-borne, inflatable “Canopy Raft.” A fervent defender of primary forests, he has published numerous articles and books translated into several languages, and was scientific advisor and co-writer of Luc Jacquet’s film Once Upon A Forest (2013).


Stefano Mancuso

Italian biologist, professor at the University of Florence, and member of the Accademia dei Georgofili, Stefano Mancuso studies plant behavior. At the International Laboratory for Plant Neurobiology, which he founded in 2005, he has conducted extensive research on plant sensitivity and on communication in the plant world. He is the author of several scientific books and hundreds of publications in international journals, including Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence (Washington: Island Press, 2013) in collaboration with journalist Alessandra Viola.


Miroslav Radman

Miroslav Radman is a Croatian-French molecular biologist and geneticist. He has made major discoveries relating to the mechanisms of genetic information preservation, including DNA repair mechanisms. He has been a member of the French Académie des Sciences since 2002, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Inserm Grand Prize for Biomedical Research in 2003. The work of Miroslav Radman and his collaborators has resulted in over two hundred publications in prestigious international scientific journals, as well as the filing of numerous patents.


Ursula et Verena Regehr

Verena Regehr is a Swiss anthropologist. In 1966, after studying education, art, and anthropology in Basel, she moved to the Paraguayan Chaco. Through her NGO, Espacios, she is committed to the realization of indigenous land rights and the recognition of indigenous art in the Chaco. Along with her daughter Ursula, she has organized several exhibitions.

Ursula Regehr is doctoral researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her research focuses on indigenous modes of representation in the Chaco and their reconfigurations in the context of multiple processes of colonization and nation-building. In the late 1990s, the two women founded the Artes Vivas project: with Osvaldo Pitoe and Jorge Carema, they started the practice, among the artists of the Chaco, of drawing with a ballpoint pen on paper.


Verena Regehr

Abigail L. S. Swann

Abigail L. S. Swann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. She studies both the physical climate system and the underlying biological processes that govern ecosystems and characterize their response to environmental variability and change.