Since the late 17th century, the French expression nature morte (literally ‘dead nature’) has been used to refer to still life, the field of painting that approaches nature from a sensual perspective and explicitly alludes to its fragility and ephemerality, and indirectly also to the vanity of human intervention on its composite elements. Over time, the term has extended to include any arrangement of inanimate objects organised in a certain fashion with a symbolic intention, which is meant to induce a poetic emotion. In our so-called “anthropocene” age, man’s unwarranted action is contributing to the impermanence of nature, or even its annihilation. With this sombre outlook, the term nature morte takes on even greater relevance. Yet nature has a formidable capacity for regeneration. Works by numerous creative minds question, provoke or encourage mechanisms that nature uses to underpin its intensity, reproduction and durability. In reality, each state of matter is a snapshot in a long, slow, evolutionary process of transformation, aggregation, assimilation and decomposition… Nature is very much alive!
In this exhibition organised at the CID, designers, architects and artists present intensive, practical or experimental research that questions the relationship between man and nature, calling in equal measure on ecology, science, our moral conscience and artistic creation. Nature morte/Nature vivante reveals how much man’s ambiguous relationship with nature can be both perverse and inspiring.
With: Alexi Williams Wynn, Andrea Branzi, Ani Liu, Anne Ausloos, Ariel Schlesinger, Arvid & Marie, Babs Decruyenaere, Bas Smets & Wannes Peremans, Benjamin Verdonck, Diana Scherer, Eline Willemarck, Elissa Lacoste, Erez Nevi Pana, Erine Wyckmans, Formafantasma, Gabriel Rico, Hilde De Decker, Hongjie Yang, Jean-Philippe Tromme, Lieve Van Stappen, Lilla Tabasso, Lois Weinberger, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Marlène Huissoud, Michel Blazy, Nel Verbeke, Nurit Bar-Shai, Octave Vandeweghe, Roland Persson, Scholten & Baijings, Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, Studio Wieki Somers, Tania De Bruycker, Tony Matelli, Various Artists, Vincent Egon Verschueren, Xandra Van Der Eijk.
What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning, and to this extent man only encounters himself. - Werner Heisenberg
Maarten Vanden Eynde, Plastic Reef, 2008-2012