Exposition Nous, les fleuves

We, the Rivers

Temporary exhibition

From 21 October 2022 to 27 August 2023

Go with the flow, from water droplet to the sea

We, the rivers, we shape the landscapes and fertilise the land. We are essential sources of life, cradles of great civilisations, and most of humanity depends on our waters.

The exhibition invites you to follow the course of an imaginary river. Along the way, you will acquaint yourself with the mystery of our springs, the colours of our confluences, the strength of our flows and, finally, the ecological and geopolitical issues involved in our estuaries and deltas.

An immersive scenography, canoes, aquatic animals, mythological characters, artworks and documentary films, will plunge you into kingdom of river waters.

© Daniel Coe

The exhibition route


The miracle of springs

We, the rivers, are born in the heart of snow-capped mountains or the depths of forests. But humans long thought we were a gift from capricious deities. When they made their way upstream, they found offshoots, other waterways and, higher up, ever narrower tributaries and streams. Then they looked up at the clouds and finally understood.

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Exposition Nous, les fleuves

Confluences: when rivers meet each another

We, the rivers, are complex, arborescent systems. We crisscross the Earth like a vast bloodstream whose “veins” beat to the rhythm of the seasons. Thousands of watercourses join up, strengthening our current. They carry sediments along with them, torn from their banks as they pass by and endowing us with our colours.

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Exposition Nous, les fleuves

The riverbed: an indomitable mass of water

Joined by other watercourses, we, the rivers, continue to grow. We transport thousands of cubic metres of water every second, deepening our beds with ever increasing force, relentlessly altering the landscape. Even though most of us have been canalised and contained by humans, we are still feared and unpredictable.

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Deltas and estuaries : between land and sea

Here, we, the rivers, mix our fresh waters with the salt waters of the seas and our sediments accumulate. Humans settled on these fertile lands. They built ever larger towns as our mouths are crossing points and centres of trade – centres now threatened by human activities and rising sea levels.

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Exposition Nous, les fleuves

And then?

We, the rivers, finish our journey, unleashing our waters into the ocean waves – waters that carry the memories of our journey across the continents: not just minerals, pebbles and sand, but pollutants and plastic waste too. We are the reflection of the lands we have crossed and the way in which human societies occupy them. The Oceans’, the whole planet’s and consequently your good health depend on ours.

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Exposition Nous, les fleuves