The experiments of Jean-Marie Appriou in ceramics and iron casting are the result of a unique technical relationship to the materials, enhanced by a network of cultural references (Pre-Raphaelites, pop music, artisanal craftsmanship, figure-skating, medieval mythologies, comic strips, etc.). The crepuscular itinerary designed by Jean-Marie Appriou for the Palais de Tokyo evokes a basilica plan, a concert hall, a cave, and a reliquary all at once. The cast iron assemblages that structure the exhibition are compositions of elements conceived in the artist’s studio (sea shells, crystals, potter’s wheel, and figures). These compositions are both sculptures and bas-reliefs, as they reconfigure space in interplays of transparency, chiaroscuro, and saturation. Together they make up a personal cosmology developed by the artist, symbolizing cycles of natural and manufactured material transformations. This itinerary evokes successive limestone stages – from seashell sedimentation at the bottom of the ocean to stalactite formations. He also depicts clay’s metamorphoses: its extraction from the swamps, to its shaping and firing. This terrestrial approach is almost alchemical and emphasized by the exhibition’s title hermetic aspect: “Sonde d’arc-en-taupe” mentions two complementary patterns, mole tunnels and rainbows, a way of linking the cosmos and the chthonian world, the stars and the underground.