MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Natural Flavor, the last exhibition in 2015, featuring works by nine international artists that deal with urbanization, the influence of Post-Fordism, and the altered notion of leisure and recreation. The exhibition aims to explore contemporary society’s alienation from nature and put a new focus on our often-repressed longing for decelerated moments. At its core, Natural Flavor asks how cities, infrastructures, and new technologies shape our daily living and working conditions. The exhibition runs through December 13.
The paradoxical title Natural Flavor refers to a current trend in which the natural has become a projection for imitations and technological innovations. A second, fake nature has emerged, newly created by cultural modifications and processes of commodification. This phenomenon redefines our perception of nature by challenging the nature-culture division that has characterized scientific and philosophical discourses since the modern era. Factors such as the current centralization in cities, increasing digitization, and the demands of the neoliberal market play as important a role in this development as economic restructuring in rural areas.
The artists participating in the exhibition are based in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Vienna. Their work engages critically with concepts of urbanization and thereby reflects on the changing relationship between humanity and nature. Maja Cule’s video Facing the Same Direction (2014) plays in New York and deals with the oppressiveness of the so-called “do what you love” culture. Olivia Erlanger & Jessi Reaves present City Animals (2015), a collaborative work that combines the techniques of craft making, design, and artistic practice in a sculptural ensemble. For her installation, Kate Newby discreetly integrates red rope, windchimes made of clay, and glass rocks in given architectural settings. Simon Dybbroe Møller’s photograph The Embrace (2015) portrays a plumber and a cook hugging each other, thus forcing their professional performance to break down in a moment full of emotions. In his small-scale silk painting, Rasmus Høj Mygind examines the current role of artists and asks what significance creativity and ingenuity can have for our society. In addition to a selection of process paintings, Kayode Ojo presents a sculptural wall piece, which refers to the heritage of modernist urban architecture. From her series of resin-poured soup bowls, Hayley Aviva Silvermanshows Cleanliness (2015), interweaving the symbolism of food with the icon of the American hobo. The video installation Forest for the Trees (2015) by Kerry Tribe is a metaphorical text piece about experiencing nature from a distance. The text loops endlessly on a screen between houseplants and professional grip gear. The range of exhibited works reflects on the conditions that confront people living in urban contexts and asks how consumption, work, and recreation determine our ways of living together.