The exhibition comprises of film and sculpture drawn from the artist hoarding and foraging from both nature and industrialised debris to articulate Echard’s desire to make sense of the world. Her underlying botanical knowledge drives the act of collecting and composing, not solely linked to an inquiry into material but also to a possibility of being infected by it.
Algae, lichen, mentha, kombucha, phallus indusiatus mushroom, yarrow, fern, ginseng, clitoria, verbena, hypericum, summer savoury, St John’s wort, chamomile, passiflora, brambles, achillea, helichrysum, heather, tansy, egg shells, flies, chesnut flowers, sage, Diet Coke, marbles, wrapping, false nails, balm herb, car body debris, Leeloo Gé contraceptive pills, Echinacea pills, brewer’s yeast, dietary supplements for skin, fertility, hair removal wax, lactation or tranquillity pills from Boots and Schaebens. Ingredients all selected for their paradoxical side effects, which are impossible to control, but simultaneously provoke ecstasy, anxiety, annoyance, feverishness, seduction, irritation, rejection, and desire.
Central to the exhibition is Echard’s recently produced film ‘The People’, with accompanying soundtrack by musician Raphaël Henard. The densely chromatic work is compiled from the artist’s vast family archive of Mini DV footage. Travelling through a twilit forest wilderness in the Cévennes mountains, the film arrives at a small isolated clearing depicting an alternative communitarian way of life, cut off from society, constructed autonomously around nature rather than displacing it. ‘The People’ are a close network of friends and family members who have become polarized from contemporary life to create their own social reality and alternative living arrangement.
Autobiographical and a gesture of resistance by the artist, Echard poses an anxious counterpoint to an intermediary stage between her personal experience of the natural world and technology.