Face au Temps
(Facing the Weather)

Face au Temps (Facing the Weather) is the title of a monumental artwork by Bigert & Bergström, created at the invitation of staff members at Saint-Denis hospital complex in the Paris region. The project is part of the New Patrons program, initiated by the Fondation de France, which enables people confronting societal issues or developing a property to involve artists in their endeavor through the commissioning of an artwork.

The commission centers on the hospital’s historical wing, a medical surgery building in the Functionalist style dating from the 1970s that defines the site with its imposing volume, in contrast to the units built more recently. The building needed some care and restoration, particularly the central part of its facade, where the decorative elements in front of the window columns were falling into ruin—the concrete had deteriorated since the era of its construction due to weather and age. To rectify this disrepair and its negative associations with illness, the group decided to work together to replace this damaged part of the structure with an art commission—a work in dialogue with the architecture that could also address a socially and culturally diverse audience.

"Face au Temps, " view from inside of Saint-Denis hospital. Photo: Phoebé Meyer
Video documentation, drone footage

Directed by Mari Linnman, curator for the Fondation de France’s New Patrons program, the group entrusted their project to the artist duo Bigert & Bergström, who have made numerous artworks that engage issues around the climate, the biosphere, and the relationship between mankind and the environment.

With the work Facing the Weather, Bigert & Bergström confront the impact of the climate on the human organism and its well-being. The work is composed of two large stainless-steel reliefs. The artists borrow symbols used in meteorology, including isobars, hot and cold fronts, wind, rain, clouds, and sun, and arrange them to form an imaginary map where several climatic zones merge.

The patrons: Dr Florence Skinazi (gastroenterologist), Dr Isabelle Marin (EMSP doctor), Anissa Taleb (director of communication, clientele, and quality), Malika Faucher (trade union), Idriss Farota-Romejko (IDE EMSP), Dr Nora Mahfouzi (pediatrician), Sandra Nulbati (pediatric lecturer), Dr Chafika Khiter (endocrinologist), Isabelle De Castro (hygiene department), Fatimah Boutih (secretary), Alain Geerinck (painter), Omar Hlakache (gardener), Nicolas Druart (ex-technical director), Catherine Vauconsant (ex-medical affairs director). With the active and indispensable support of Yolande Di Natale (general director), Samir Chakhchoukh (senior hospital technician) and Emmanuel Duchamp (director of works).

With the support of: Centre hospitalier de Saint-Denis, Fondation de France, Fondation Daniel and Nina Carasso, Conseil Régional Ile-de-France, Parliamentary Reserve of Senator Aline Archimbaud, Plaine Communes, Ville de Saint-Denis.

Accompanied by the sponsors: ATS Pantin Nephrology Centre, Pathology Laboratory of Doctors Badaro Blanc & Normand, SENY S.A (VEDICI Group).

Mediation /production: Mari Linnman, 3ca
Contractors: Julien Bonthoux, GMGB
Installation: Jacques Creusot, SAS BMF


"Face au Temps/Facing the Weather," 2017
Hammered, mirror polished and lacquered 
stainless steel, 28.2 x 9.2 m
"Face au Temps," detail. Photo: Phoebé Meyer
Drawing, weather signs
Drawing, fronts' measurements
Manufacturing weather signs, color test, Beijing. Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström
Manufacturing weather signs, rain, Beijing. Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström
Modeling weather signs, Stockholm. Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström