Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Alter Nature: We Can

Alter Nature: We Can at Z33 Hasselt (Belguim)
21.11.2010 to 13.03.2011

Alter Nature: We Can shows the work of 20 international contemporary artists and designers. The exhibition focuses on the different ways in which people have displaced, manipulated or designed nature: from small gardens to private islands, from carrots and bonsai trees to acoustic plants and orange pheasants.

In Alter Nature: We Can, Z33 looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this.

Alter Nature lounge

The works are not about using nature to meet basic needs (such as health, food, protection, etc.). Interesting projects in this context are legion, but grouped together they almost inevitably lead to simplified contradictions. On the one hand, one has projects that look ‘positively’ upon transforming nature: they find out what technology can do or they show solutions. These projects are often criticised because they seem to subscribe seamlessly to the scientific belief in progress. On the other hand, some projects show the negative side; they look at interventions in nature that have gone wrong. These projects are criticesed to bethe autonomous art corner’s wagging finger. They criticise but do not offer any solutions.

Alter Nature: We Can wants to go beyond this simplified pro-contra positioning. The works on display are therefore devoid of strict utilitarianism and the emphasis is on the historic context of intervention, the multiplicity of manipulations and our fluctuating understanding of the concept of nature.

Curator: Karen Verschooren (Z33)

Artists: Makoto Azuma (JP), BCL: Shiho Fukuhara (JP) and Georg Tremmel (AT), David Benqué (UK), Julien Berthier (FR), Merijn Bolink (NL), Center for PostNatural History, Mark Dion (US), Driessens & Verstappen (NL), Daisy Ginsberg (UK), Tue Greenfort (DK),Natalie Jeremijenko (US), Eduardo Kac (US), James King (UK), Allison Kudla (US), Reinier Lagendijk (NL), Antti Laitinen (FIN), Hans Op de Beeck (B), Michael Sailstorfer (D), Maarten Vanden Eynde (B), Adrian Woods (NL), Adam Zaretsky (US)

Alter Nature: We Can is part of Alter Nature, an overarching project by Z33, the Hasselt Fashion Museum and CIAP in collaboration with the MAD faculty, the University of Hasselt, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), KULeuven University and bioSCENTer.

I'm looking forward to exhibition at the Hasselt Fashion Museum " Alter Nature: The future that never was" (29.01.2011 - 05.06.2011)

'Mobile Wilderness Unit-Wolf' by Mark Dion

'Growth Pattern' Allison Kudla

Growth Pattern consists of a 2,5 x 2,5m grid in which 64 Petri dishes contain tobacco plant leaves cut in specific shapes. The work takes on the form of a pattern and shows a direct link with design and the history of nature as a motif and interior design element.

'Morphoteque #9' Driessens & Verstappen

A collection of 32 artificial carrots, the shapes of which are based on carrots that were rejected in distribution centres.

'Nature Sucks' by Merijn Bolink

‘Nature Sucks’ is a willow branch, the side branches of which have been processed to show a number of geometric patterns, as well as the words “Nature Sucks”. Through this work as well as through No Title (Mondriaan in Como), Bolink wants to test the possibilities of rebellion or revolt vis-à-vis nature. At one fell swoop he passes over (ignores) the amazing and obligatory beauty of nature to make a controversial statement: Down with nature! Nature is killing us! Nature Sucks!

'Untiteld' by Reinier Lagendijk

Reinier Lagendijk presents with this work a 140cm high yucca plant. Conscious of the techniques of plant manipulation and processes and capacities of plant growth, Lagendijk creates poetic images which often come across as humoristic in the almost human dimensions they have been given.

'Secret Garden' by Hans Op de Beeck

Secret Garden is a silent and poetic, but also rather absurd representation of a city garden. In this work, Op de Beeck refers to the humanization and domestication of nature; the urge to create a safe, little paradise for ourselves. Note that gardens can also be thought of as one of the earliest large-scale manipulations of nature for aesthetic reasons.

'Frozen Pine' by Makoto Azuma

In Frozen Pine, a Z33 commission, a bonsai pine tree is ‘freeze-sprayed’ and presented in an especially designed refrigerator. The icicles slowly extract the colour from the bonsai tree – the bonsai dies, but its beauty is preserved in optimum conditions.

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