"Ocean Imaginings" exhibition at The MuMa in Le Havre

The André Malraux Museum of Modern Art in Normandy hosts an exhibition that explores the connections between sea and imagination, focusing on artists from the 19th century to the present day.

Is there anywhere more dreamlike than the subsea world and its extraordinary creatures? In any event, it’s a subject that has inspired - and still inspires - many artists... that much is crystal clear from the Ocean Imaginings exhibition.

This exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Le Havre brings together around 170 pieces from the 19th century to the present day united by the theme of underwater imagination. Works by Gustave Moreau and Auguste Rodin rub shoulders with pieces by Man Ray, Brassaï and contemporary artist Elsa Guillaume.

Sea monsters and eco-conscience

These pieces have been curated to show how our perspective on the underwater world has changed with time. In light of the scientific discoveries made during this period, representations inspired by the ancient world are gradually superseded by sea monsters and half-man/half-animal creatures before we reach the eco-conscious pieces of contemporary art.

This is particularly true of the work by multidisciplinary artist Nicolas Floc’h, who shows large-format photographs of the seabed off the island of Ushant and Kuroshio in Japan. These images were created during his expedition on the schooner Tara in 2017.

This exhibition boasts a superb venue at MuMa, the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art, a glass and steel building that faces the sea at the entrance to the port of Le Havre in Normandy with uninterrupted views of the coastal landscape.

The MuMa in Le Havre