Untitled Future - In the shadow of Nature
Salihara Gallery, Jakarta 2015. Curator Kjell-Erik Ruud.
Artist Portrait: Ingeborg Annie Lindahl
By: Professor Jan Martin Nordbotten, Department of Mathematics, University of Bergen, Norway
The interaction between natural phenomena and biological evolution is a persistent open question in science. On the one hand, it is indisputable from fossil records that major events such as climate variability, meteor impacts, and volcano eruptions, have dramatically altered the Earth’s biosphere. On the other hand, it has not been established conclusively to what extent the biosphere itself can induce major shifts in the absence of such external forcing.
With this context, the current actions of mankind, in which we are collectively achieving the power to alter our surroundings, is not only of economical, political or technological interest, but also opens new philosophical avenues. We can ask the question as to whether the industrial rise of mankind, and the unintended impact this has on our climate and nature in general, should be considered as either a major external event with respect to the biosphere, or if instead, we should consider ourselves a part of the biosphere which is now forcing change from inside.
Regardless of the philosophical aspects, we are forced to accept that human actions are now comparable to major geological events of the past, with significant alterations to climate, sea level, and biodiversity. With this realization, humankind as both individuals and as a collective is forced to assess the moral consequence of our actions in a radically new light. As a naïve example, we can consider the work of a simple farmer. In years past, the daily work of the farmer seldom impacted more than the production of his own land and the value he left to his heirs. Today, even a modest agricultural enterprise can cause regional pollution of groundwater, air quality, and soil. The farmer must therefore consider not only his own farm, but also the well-being of his neighboring communities.
This evolution of mankind from a simple piece in the Earth’s biosphere, to a strong governing force, can be used to understand the work of Ingeborg Annie Lindahl. Through her artistic expression, she seeks to juxtapose technology, humankind and nature. This is achieved not on only by selections of motifs, but more evocatively through choice of materials and modes of expression. Her works thus serve two purposes, wherein on one hand they confront us with the new realities of globalization, while on the other hand they challenge us to reflect on our own existence, and our value as individuals.
Lindahl has succeeded in this respect in multiple formats, ranging from the monumental – wherein the artistic works are brought out into nature, to the subtle, where nature is brought into the artistic space. In this exhibit, we will be confronted with the volcano itself as a symbol for creative destruction, and experience its encompassing presence.