Preternatural Impacts, Arden Asbæk Gallery, June 11 – July 31, 2021
Throughout the history of art, nature has been a recurring muse for artists. Depictions of nature have been a way to establish national identity, practice spirituality and explore the physical world. The natural world has been an endless source of inspiration as well as resources to us. Preternatural Impacts explores the relationship between us and the surrounding world by presenting three artists who each work with nature based on emotion, intuition, and aesthetics. Perhaps a welcome approach to the challenges we are currently facing, both regarding environmental politics and sustainability, but also in connection with our relationship with nature and where it is heading. Today, humanity occupies most of nature. We build roads, we cut down trees and we develop our world, often at the cost of nature. But in these works, a post-human world is presented. In this world, we seem to be absent, leading nature to develop unaffected by us to a preternatural state, which is both bizarre and recognizable, beautiful as well as frightening. By speculating in the value of nature and where it is heading, these three artists present vastly different works – and yet similar stories.
Marie Anine Møller is a Danish artist based in New York. Working within sculpture as well as photography, Møller creates works that borrow their form from everyday objects, but which are at the same time intrinsically different. Fish heads on tripods and ceramic mushrooms appearing out of plastic forms, these objects combine the man-made and the natural world, and are inspired by still life, in French known as nature morte. Both terms are contradictory in themselves, as here, life becomes static rather than vibrant, and nature dead rather than blossoming. And by exploring these ambiguities, Møller explores topics within both environmental and social politics, while also challenging our fixed definitions of value. Value is also of interest to painter Johanne Lykke. In a time where nature is under much pressure, Lykke’s largescale floral watercolor paintings tower up in the space and reconnects us with nature in an emotional and spiritual way. Flowers are common motifs within both Western and Eastern art history, whether it’s floral symbolism in Medieval Art, Chinese bird- and-flower painting, or in the seventeenth century, where the lush flower was also a symbol of death and decay’s inevitable coming. Lykke’s almost stoic approach draws on the many meanings connected to the flower and thereby touches upon dichotomies such as life and death, strength and vulnerability, but also culture and nature.
Photographer Choki Lindberg creates intricate universes. Her photographs present an eerie world where natural disasters have left their mark. Flooded houses, and living rooms penetrated by vegetation. There are traces left behind, and we are invited to investigate and associate freely. The works are immensely detailed, and yet something seems off. Because what we see is not real life, but miniature models of houses and rooms, created in Lindberg’s studio. But as the artifice and visual deceit begin to unravel, what do we see? A carefully constructed lie, or a speculative look into what might be?
Marie Anine Møller (b. 1980) is a Danish visual artist, based in New York. She has a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art Photography from the Glasgow School of Art followed by an MFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute, New York. Her work integrates sculpture, photography, installation and text, and explores contradictions in materials and social policy issues by questioning fixed states and definitions of value. Møller has previously exhibited at Steuben Gallery (US), Compass Gallery (UK) as well as CGK Gallery and Fotografisk Center in Copenhagen.