On show at Gallery 400, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) exhibition area, from 17th January to 1st March is the exhibition Ghost Nature, curated by Caroline Picard, in which some twenty artists are taking part, among them, Agnes Meyer-Brandis (winner of second place in VIDA 15.0) and the collective Art Orienté Objet (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin, winners of third place in VIDA 14.0).
The exhibition deals with the impossibility of reaching the romantic ideal of communing with nature as an environment that is unrelated to Man’s actions. This desire, which still remains, has become the “tickle of a phantom limb”, a mere illusion that, even so, shapes our relationship with the natural environment. The artists selected by Picard explore the limits of this contact between the human and non-human realms, and the way in which we make nature submit to our desires. In this context, the work by Art Orienté Objet, May the Horse Live in Me, exemplifies the desire to transcend what is human and set up a connection with an animal: in an elaborate (and risky) performance, Marion Laval-Jeantet receives a plasma transfusion from a horse that combines with her own blood and causes certain alterations in her body. On the other hand, Agnes Meyer-Brandis’s project, Moon Goose Colony, offers a poetical reflection on the ways in which we humans modify the behaviour of animals by taming them, so as to use them for our own purposes, whatever they may be. The work of the award-winning artists from VIDA Art and Artificial Life is joined by that of Sebastian Alvarez, Jeremy Bolen, Irina Botea, Robert Burnier, Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Carrie Gundersdorf, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Jenny Kendler, Devin King, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Rebecca Mir, Heidi Norton, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Tessa Siddle and Xaviera Simmons.