The Natural

Maura Biava, Tanja Engelberts, Anne Geene, Margaret Lansink, Antoinette Nausikaä, Diana Scherer

January 11 - February 29
Opening on January 11, 5 - 7 pm

In the present days, the relationship between humans and their natural environment has become a precarious one. The harmful effects of human activity on the earth can’t be ignored anymore. The world we live in screams for attention, and, what is required are new modes of thinking that reshape our position towards nature. More and more artists take our natural environment as their subject. Their empathy, imagination, reflection and activism can broaden our perspective. With the work of 6 selected artists, this exhibition investigates the ways in which contemporary artists touch upon the subject of nature and humans’ relation to it. They try to visualize the pure untouched nature and the radical human disturbances. The notion of ‘the natural’ is to be discovered and reflected on.  

With works of Maura Biava, Tanja Engelberts, Anne Geene, Antoinette Nausikaä, Margaret Lansink and Diana Scherer.  

Antoinette Nausikäa, A River Runs Through Me, 2019,  Digital c-print, 160 x 110 cm,

Maura Biava is inspired by the hidden laws of nature. The regular forms of the organic world originate according to certain rules, information and energy – as an artist, Maura looks for the ways to make her work according to those laws. The presented sculpture is part of a series of works that explore and enhance the presence of mathematical formulas in nature.

During the last decades, Maura has been working with analytic geometry and mathematics to create, understand and work with shapes. The interaction between information and matter informs and gives form to what we see, it shapes reality. To show this interaction Biava uses clay, as the matter, and mathematics and numbers, as the information. At the same time, Biava works and shows the energy that has been generated in the making. Maura shows it by making the performative aspect of her work visible on the basis of photographic works that she combines with sculptures – she considers the work process as part of the artwork.

Tanja Engelberts, Reclaim, 2019, Silkscreen with petro-coke on Arches BFK Rives paper,  40 x30 cm each work

Tanja Engelberts is fascinated by the fossil industry. In a number of projects, she investigated how human dependence on fossil fuel influences the natural landscape.

Natural arrangements, once disturbed by man, are not restored until the retires from the field, and leaves free scope to spontaneous recuperative energies; the wounds he inflicts upon the material creation are not healed until he withdraws the arm that gave the blow.

– George P. Marsh from Man and Nature

During a residency at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity in Canada, she developed the Petroleum Borealis project. The Canadian Athabasca area seems a desolate place, but in reality, the tar sands are home to one of the world’s largest oil fields. Engelberts portrayed the Taiga. These boreal forests are of great importance to our ecosystem but are threatened by oil extraction. She photographed this boreal forest from above, recorded the tar sand industry and portrayed an abandoned tar sand mine. The result is the indelible traces that people have left in the landscape, with the consequences that extend beyond the local scope.

The characteristic of Engelberts’ work is the research into the materiality of photography. She used tar sand to print the images. This gives her photos an extra layer that underlines the transience of the landscape.

Anne Geene‘s Colour Analysis is a work-in-progress that she has been working on for a couple of years. It is a part of Anne’s Museum of the Plant which is a fictional, slightly absurd “museum” that focuses on all aspects of plants that other museums do not discuss. Coincidence, strange growth, social status, plants that grow in special places, plants with a special owner, etc.

Through photography, Anne Geene archives, organizes, interprets and arranges the world around her. Later she analyses and catalogues this information in a seemingly logical way. Seemingly, because the interpretation of the collected data is essentially personal and an ironic reference to our eagerness to organize and know everything.

Anne Geene, Eeuwig Herbarium #23, from the series Museum of the Plant, 2019, Inkjet on archival matte, 83 x 105

Driven by a personal need for finding stillness and balance within our hectic and rapidly changing world, Antoinette Nausikaä explores the relation between culture and nature within our everyday environment. Especially how the interconnectedness of all things around her can be sensed and made visible in her art.
She explores questions such as: “How does the human abstract relate to the natural organic? The mundane to the transcendent? Permanence to the impermanent? How to express the ineffable?”
Her works function as a space for contemplation and a way of sharing her personal research into our “invisible” relationships with the immediate environment, thus bridging everyday life and the transcendental, the (apparently) ordinary and the mystery.

Following her long term project Breathing Mountains, Antoinette Nausikaä has subsequently shifted her perspective from the mountain paths to the city streets. Rather than looking for tranquillity and pure nature in faraway mountains and being confronted with human presence in what we imagine to be unspoiled, natural areas, she now explores stillness and the balance between man and nature amidst the formal and changeable structures of a city. 

By observing the cityscape, zooming in and out on situations and patterns, she aims to show that things are inextricably linked, influence each other and that there is no such thing as a single perspective on a subject. With her work, Antoinette wants to offer the viewer a place for contemplation and uncover the harmony and natural order that is present in the midst of the hectic pace of everyday life.  

Margaret Lansink uses photography to bridge the personal and universal. In this exhibition she will present a work from her newest series Bodymaps.

In every fase of life the essence of life is different. But what is the essence of life when you grow older? When you pass a certain age which seems to be a signal for society to move you to its fringes? At the same time you still have the desire to be seen, to be recognized by that same society. For what you are. For who you are. Do you hide your real age, do you accept or do you even fight these (unwritten) rules of society.

Bodymaps is Lansink’s visual interpretation of this ambivalence showing compassion for women in this latter stage of life. When aging and the visible traces of life are evident. Do you hide these traces and scars or do you show and cherish them as memories of life?
Lansink interconnects these very feminine images with close ups of traces from Mother Nature where human intervention has left deep impact. Contemplating if we better not intervene with these natural processes of aging but instead show respect and embrace its outcome.
Take it, trace it, map it

Diana Scherer‘ s work is at the interface between design, art and science. Scherer is fascinated by the undiscovered possibilities of the root system.

Charles Darwin already believed that the tip of the plant’s root functioned as a “brain.” He even described in his autobiography that he “felt an especial pleasure in showing how many and what admirably well adapted movements the tip of the root possesses” (Darwin 1888).

Scherer manipulates the root system, but at the same time embraces its own way in which it arises. Her underground templates are based on the natural way in which roots grow. This is based on a geometric system – the system that we find in cells, honeycombs, shells, flowers and crystals. She sees parallels between the materiality of the roots and yarn. In Hyper Rhizome 2019 weaving, the natural network of roots turns into a material that is reminiscent of living textiles.