The climate crisis, whose effects we must deal with every day, is forcing us more than ever to question our individual and collective behaviour. While we certainly need to adjust our lifestyles, we must also rethink our way of being part of the world. This is precisely what the works assembled in this exhibition invite us to do.
To be part of the world: this expression, which is also the title of an important book on ecofeminism [Faire partie du monde : réflexions écoféministes], supports the notion that to stop destroying the planet, we must first break the ideology of domination underlying our societies: domination over individuals, domination over people and territories, domination over nature and what we consider “inferior” forms of life. This involves examining and undoing the power relations and inequalities that arise when it comes to environmental issues. Because although we all, to varying degrees, have a role to play in this, our ability to act in the context of this crisis is far from equal.
The works presented here explore the ways in which we come in contact with nature from the specific angle of desire, with all of its ambivalence and contradictions. How do we reconcile our yearning to know and discover, to grow and enrich ourselves and our quest for ever-increasing physical and material comforts, with the restraint that, from now on, must be at the centre of our concerns? How can we undo the complex entanglement of land and resource exploitation and appropriation our post-industrial and post-colonial societies still rely on? These works address the limits of regeneration and fertility, but also the intrinsic strength of living beings and their transformative capabilities.
Biophilia means “love of nature.” It’s our innate attraction, our human desire to be in touch with living things and to bond with nature. This term sets the tone for the exhibition and encourages respect and kindness towards all forms of life—microscopic organisms, plants, and animals—and every element of nature. It also marks a paradigm shift from the concept of a nourishing Mother Earth—whose resources we exploit—to a loving Earth that we unite with, care for, and love, but don’t seek to possess.
Biophilia offers a truly spiritual and sensual communion with nature that goes well beyond our gaze; it’s a union with our entire being. It means beating to the rhythm of nature, to permeate ourselves with it. To introduce ourselves to the forest. To smell the leaves on the trees, caress the moss, feel the flow of a stream on our skin. To feel the substances that shape our environments by and through our bodies, to sense that we form a whole—that we are nature.
Zheng Bo, Montserrat Duran Muntadas, Jumana Manna, Katherine Melançon, Joshua Schwebel and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.
Image in the banner:
Zheng Bo, The Rite of Spring (Tandvärkstallen), 2021-22. Courtesy of the artist and Kiang Malingue gallery