Simona Denicolai and Ivo Provoost have worked together on creating performances and detailed interventions that question the place of artistic practices in the public sphere since the middle of the 90s. The resulting designs, which are not necessarily immediately recognisable as works of art, arise from the context itself, in line with the appropriation strategy of the two artists.
The painting La première traversée du Sahara en 1924 (The first crossing of the Sahara in 1924), by Paul De Gobert in 1984, is the starting point of the unusual quest that gradually led to the AIRFRANCE.be installation. Blowing the entirety of their budget on this painting found abandoned in the former garage, the two visual artists set to looking into information about the painter, the various stakeholders, and the archives in order to retrace the chronology of this work. Legend has it that the painting was given to the director of the premises by a client in exchange for some repairs. It portrays, as if by chance, the expedition referred to as The Black Crossing, financed by André Citroën at the beginning of the century to promote his brand and was at first displayed in the showroom then canteen, before being abandoned when the garage relocated in 2017. The artists have restored its place in the history of the building and have little by little surrounded it with the various items they have discovered during their research.