VISIT on 5, 6, 10, 12 & 12 September 2020 2-6 PM or by appointment
With such rocky and reversing terrain, seasons persevere and nature transforms itself anew, but also into certainty. Keeping Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble (2016) close at hand, Avant Gardener delves into interwoven matters around frontiers and borders, botany, spiritual presence, interspecies cooperation and kinship. The artists in this exhibition explore the transitory phases between natural and cultural landscape presented in forms of drawing, installation, photography and audio-visual documentation of sonic work.
Anthea Bush’s tall drawings entitled Growing Stone sprung as she watched potatoes grow with multicolored branches into unusually shaped forms. Patiently observing how these alien bodies contain themselves over many months, Bush keeps record of time and collects data of the alternative world they inhabit, similarly to 16th-Century botanists. These magnified watercolor illustrations of outgrown potatoes are accompanied by the protagonists themselves—the real life vegetable in its full eerie botanical glory, displayed on various glass plinths.
Conceived in its entirety, Christina Della Giustina’s you are variations - tree house invites the visitor to the second floor as if climbing the nearby tree trunk for an intimate and closer experience of the work. Initiated in the artist’s studio almost a decade ago, Della Giustina’s artistic project emanated from a wish to listen to the neighboring tree facing her studio at Atelier WG, in puntWG’s immediate environment. Studying the water cycles of trees, you are variations transform empirical data into a musical score that is performed through collaborative live performances and audio-visual installations. The tree house installation presents visually animated documentary material alongside you are variations’ last performance of the artist’s nine-year research at Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace in Prague.
Capturing her research around intimately observed rituals and myths connected to landscape, Emily Bates’ 100 Days photographic series narrates meditation practices through scenes of stillness with hidden intricacies. Documenting a shaman temple on the coast of South Korea, the artist follows traces of nature worship, animism, rituals of misfortune and how these traditions navigate around power references of water and mountains. Bates partners her photography with five flags of colored silk hung on the wall that refers to the Korean shamanic ritual “Obansinjanggi.” The banners of the guardian gods are used in divination and the colors are associated with five directions according to traditional cosmology: blue is for the east, misfortune and distress; white is for the west, the Cheonsin (Celestial God) or blessing for the dead; red for the south, and good fortune; black for the north, symbolizing death; and yellow for the center, which stands for one’s ancestors.
Servet Koçyiğit entwined pieces of various shades and patterns of green fabric within themselves resembling topography maps and tree rings in his most recent textile map Medical Green. With reference to the color palette used to demonstrate the spread and the intensity levels of the COVID-19 virus throughout the map of the Netherlands, the artist amplifies the structuring of frontiers and borders, as well as the inevitably contagious. Suspending the work outside the balcony above the gallery space, Koçyiğit brings the debatable distinction between private and public to front.
The exhibition is entitled by a mischievous wording attempt of a song* that not only discusses gardening as a way to escape one’s own thoughts, but also portrays the familiar sentiments around deprivation based upon unusual circumstances. Living in troubling times with unjust patterns of both pain and joy, Haraway indicates that the task should be to make kin by means of inventing connections to practice learning how to live and die well with each other. Sticking with such difficulties, she adds, requires learning to be truly present. As a way to hold one’s ground, the artists look into interrelations of representation, kinship and spirituality.
*Avant Gardener by Courtney Barnett
The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, 2013
Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway
Duke University Press, 2016
Korean Shamanism: The Cultural Paradox by Chongho Kim
Routledge Revivals: Vitality of Indigenous Religions, 2003
Online Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture
Korean Folk Beliefs