Retort paradise with palm trees, squid and rocket
Installation (Size variable)
Location: Triangle Space / 19.04. - 23.04.2021
The palm tree has a very strong symbolic power. It is associated with the beach, with holidays and the idea of paradise. According to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri the path to paradise begins in hell and sometimes a seemingly beautiful paradise might turn into hell once you take a look beyond the surface. Since palm oil has become a major economic factor the image of the palm tree has suffered. Huge areas of rainforest have been eaten up by seemingly idyllic oil palm plantations and the hunger for cheap oil is rising. The transformational power of the human species is a strong force that can change whole landscapes and ecosystems. We are already hallucinating about terraforming other planets and creating a livable habitat somewhere in the depths of the universe. A new planet for new plantations. However, the positive image of the palm tree is not completely lost. I’ve been thinking about Dante’s quote lately and how it relates to the current crisis. There might be a new paradise waiting for us at the end of this pandemic. Despite our stubbornness and fundamental unwillingness to embrace change we might have had enough time to rethink and reevaluate our lives and strategies. Over the past weeks I have been working on a series of palm tree sculptures. All of these trees are made of construction materials and leftovers found at the studio. I want the working process to be visible in these sculptures. You can see the tape that holds the palm trees together and the plaster that forms a hard outer shell almost like a cocoon or a chrysalis bearing the imprints of the creational process. One of the palm trees is equipped with a silicone casting mould referring to the idea of forcing nature into a certain shape. But the mould also has the ability to reconstruct something that might have been lost. The squid is an animal with fascinating abilities. It can change its colour and shape according to what is needed at a certain moment. We are now in a period of transformation and just like the squid we need to adapt in order to survive. Now is a good time to put the pieces together in a more coherent and sustainable way.