Translating Nature

Translating Nature

Blurring the boundaries between industrial craftsmanship and ecological growth, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, presents Studio Drift: Uncoded Nature, a showcase of eight innovative installation and film pieces created by Dutch duo Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta. As the pairs first solo show, organic structures and sculptures are brought together, looking beyond the hyperactive present to a hopeful, utopian construction of the future. The collective’s work mixes raw and artificial materials, showing how nature can positively impact contemporary artistic practice. Extending the make-up and movements of static objects, living flora is incorporated into the collective’s designs and visual explorations.

The twinkling LED lights of Fragile Future Chandelier 3.5 (2012) for example hang suspended from intertwined, copper modules, segmenting each individual bulb which is surrounded by a live dandelion head. The combination of overtly natural and artificial is initially startling, with viewers unable to avoid the consideration of time and compromise this “slow sculpture” was constructed under. Instrumenting a feeling of awe, the piece outlines the disadvantages of mass production for aesthetics and notes a seemingly undiscovered desire by society to experience nature’s sublime stillness. The exhibition features an enlarge version of this original piece, further highlighting the overwhelming abilities of the rural.

This recognition of the serenity available from nature is further explored by the levitating, concrete sculpture: Drifter (2017). The 2x2m indented cuboid emphasises artificial media, alluding to the vast capabilities of man whilst querying the definition of domesticity and comfort. In collaboration with filmmaker Sil van der Woerd, a never before seen video of the same name continues this inquisitive deliberation, asking how philosophical theories continues to shape our perceptions of reality, sustainability and architecture. Set in the isolated yet inspiring Scottish highlands, the narrative explores the possibility of escapism, subsistence and deviation.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 25 April-26 April. Find out more here.

1. Fragile Future Chandelier 3.5 (2012). Copyright: Studio Drift / Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Flylight, Arsenale Venice (2014).