Via Principessa Clotilde 45
May 22 – July 31, 2008
The exhibition Postnatural presents three series of photographs and three works in video by Donna Conlon, a U.S. born artist living and working in the Republic of Panama. Conlon uses common objects and everyday occurrences to analyze the inherent contradictions of contemporary society and human behavior. The works in this show especially focus on the ever-present conflicts between human society and the natural world. The series of photographs, Synthetic landscapes, for example, uses the traditional language of landscape to reveal the actual disposable character of our contemporary landscapes. At first glance the scenes seem to portray beautiful hills and colorful plains under dramatic skies. At second glance one realizes that the terrain is composed of rubble and rubbish of our own making.
Two of the videos in the exhibition show artifacts of consumer society being animated by forces of nature. In Summer Breeze the wind playfully blows pieces of trash into a chain link fence, filling it up, and creating an ironically colorful wall of garbage. In Low Tide old car tires roll into the edge of the ocean to ebb and flow with the ocean’s rising tide. Active forces of nature and passive forces of man conspire to inform us about ourselves.
In the two photographic series Nature Improvement Project and Coexistence, nature has the floor in the dialogue. Insects with too many wings or legs echo our desire to improve through genetic or surgical manipulation. They are lovely but ridiculously non-functional Frankensteins. The leaf-cutter ants in Coexistence carry flags of various nations just as neutrally as they carry leaf fragments and pieces of fruit, reminding us of our own inability to be neutral and at peace.
Serving as a visual synopsis, the video Labyrinth shows the artist navigating a maze of queuing ropes in a forest clearing. They are the same ropes that keep us in line at the bank or the airport, but here in an absurdly incongruous setting they act as a metaphor for the types of artifice to which we have become accustomed and simply accept without question. Modifications are made to the labyrinth but the viewer is left to decide whether they represent real change or only busy work.