Omnipresent and essential to life, but little-known as living organisms, the 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 them. Underestimated by biologists for a long time—like the entirety of the plant kingdom—they have, in recent years, been the subject of scientific discoveries that have allowed us to see these oldest and largest members of the community of living beings in a new light. Capable of sensory perception, showing complex communication skills, living in symbiosis with many other species and influencing the climate, trees are equipped with unexpected faculties whose discovery confirms what traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities had long since incorporated. The veil has thus been lifted on a fascinating hypothesis of a “plant intelligence” which could be also the answer to many of today’s technological and environmental challenges.
Featuring works by contemporary artists including forest people, scientific imagery, films, photographs, and sound installations, the Fondation Cartier strives to highlight the beauty, ingenuity and biological richness of trees, allowing us to see and hear these impressive protagonists of the living world that now find themselves also under increasing threat.