In my artistic practice I explore the relationship between nature and culture, often through the use of found materials which I collect and photograph. I’m particularly interested in the idea of nature as something mundane and imperfect, rather than something distant, exotic or untouched.
The photographic project The Forsaken consists of fifteen photographs, of which a selection is shown in Hippolyte Studio. The images show half-dead, withered house plants photographed against a concrete background. House plants are hybrids between nature and culture; they are living, growing things, but at the same time they are consumer objects, commodities which have been cultivated for consumption and as decoration. When the plants have done their task, or when people fail to care for them, they often end up discarded on the street or in the garbage. This does not only say something about our consumer culture but it also symbolizes a deeper attitude towards nature, as something which can be consumed of and replaced, cultivated and reproduced endlessly.
In the constructed setting of the photographs, the plants are isolated, stripped of any context and all seem to pose in rather awkward positions in front of the camera. They have a particular uneasiness about them, which results in a deeply tragicomical appearance; both sad and utterly, dryly humorous at the same time. They almost become human characters, and the photographs become psychological portraits -their decay also speaks about human decay. The plants are both vulnerable and strange, and photographs therefore reflect the human condition of the viewer.
Sara Bjarland (b. 1981, Helsinki) is an artist currently living and working in Amsterdam and Gent. She studied at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Rochester, and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She is currently participating in a studio programme at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Gent, Belgium. Recent exhibitions include: Nuoret 2012 at Taidehalli, Helsinki; Residu2, Kunsthal 52, Den Helder (NL); Possible wings, C3 Gallery, Amsterdam; and Kino Cartes, Espoo.
This project has been supported by Taiteen keskustoimikunta and Grönqvistska stiftelsen, Helsinki.
More information and press images:
Hippolyte Studio / Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, +358 9 612 33 44, firstname.lastname@example.org