In a process in which reality has caught up with science fiction, our unrelenting drive of controlling and manipulating our surrounding has lead to a new geological era called the Anthropocene. While the scientific community is debating the epoch’s beginning – the advent of agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, the first nuclear bomb tests, or the more recent expansive growth in human population – they do agree on the defining factor of the new era, namely the human species being the single biggest cause of the ecological processes shaping the planet. From this daunting reality, Isabelle Andriessen creates sculptures that can be read as future fossils of a time where the products of our making still exist long after every other human trace is gone. This image is haunting as it is beautiful. Shiny objects and plastic floating in pools of everlasting detritus. It is an attractive, toxic world. This not the usual apocalyptic vision or a warning of what is to come, but a imaginative visualisation of what is already here, and an exploration of how we relate to the resources of our planet, the materials we create, and what we ultimately leave behind.
Resilient Bodies consists of several large ceramic sculptures that conduct heat in order to melt wax and plastic forms displayed on top of them. The wax is also called paraffin, a derivable from petroleum, and extracted through processes that give us energy but also creates products that will outlive us. Over the course of the exhibition these forms and materials transform and morph around scrap leftovers. The sculptures are thus entangled in a process of their own. Shown in Hotel Maria Kapel’s 16th century chapel space, the work consequently confronts us with several different experiences of time. Whereas the age of the chapel can still be experienced on a human time scale, Andriessen’s future and the processes it invokes are almost impossible to grasp.
Photos by Noortje Knulst