Algae Paper is an ongoing project initiated by Julien Villaret in 2014 who uses the Ulva, a seaweed specie present in large quantity in the north Bretagne shore (France) as an aesthaetic ressource to develop some experimental paper sheets, printings and sculptures in an immersive discourse around art and ecology.

As a multidisciplinary artist working with different techniques like silk-screen, offset and etching, I always wanted to explore the artisanal technique of papermaking, in order to complete my skills in the field of printmaking. That’s what I did in Berlin a few years ago in the workshop of Gangolf Ulbricht, starting first to recycle fabric and cardboard to create new sheets of artisanal paper.

At the same time during the summer in Brittany, I observed with curiosity the phenomenon of the green tides. This environmental anomaly is a massive rejection on the coasts of tones of Ulva, a green seaweed produced mainly because of the pollution of the rivers caused by intensive farming. This has been a problem in the region since decades, and it's regularly condemned by ecologists associations and inhabitants of the coasts as a major environmental issue, but on the other hand I wanted to think about it as an opportunity to experiment a new artistic practice.

That’s what I started to do in 2014, when I produced my first artisanal sheets of Algae Paper, with seaweed collected on the beach of Locquirec in Brittany. Since then, this project has taken a lot of different aspects, from the Algae Paper masks (artifacts refering to a fictional primitive celtic culture) to the collection of Algae Paper frames (big size compositions of Algae Paper sheets reminding the aesthetic concepts of modernism). All these works are linked to the ecologic, cultural and economic context from where the seaweed was picked up. They talk about the disturbance of the environment, our relation with this major crisis and create new aesthetic forms to narrate it.

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© Copyright Julien Villaret 2019