Anthropocene Markers at Likky Ruph in New York
Anthropocene Markers is a group show curated by Daria Irincheeva at Likky Ruph – a project space in New York.
Through the civilian and commercial proliferation of satellite technology originally intended for military use, now every person with internet access can see the surface of the Earth, Moon, and Mars as a massive photograph in remarkable detail, thus creating a new visual perspective of Planet Earth. Seen from above, human activity in shaping and cultivating land, whether architecturally, agriculturally or infrastructurally, can reveal the socio-political, and socio-economic approach to land use and land management of the region being viewed. From such a height, and viewing the planet through the Gaia theory of Earth as a living organism, one could be tempted to identify humans as the planet’s most successful parasites, based on how extensively we manipulate and reshape our planet, despite damaging it to our own eventual detriment, in order to maintain the growth of our globalized civilization.
But surprisingly enough, despite human technological and territorial ambition, the largest single “architectural” structure created by living organisms, visible from space, is the Great Barrier Reef. A massive structure approximately the size of the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined, off of the eastern coast of Australia, it was created over thousands of years through the constant accumulation of the dead bodies of the very species of corals and other ocean-borne species that inhabit it. Thinking about animal architecture, one can’t escape the fact how the architectural solutions of various species influences the course of their evolution. For example, the wasp’s discovery of how to make paper and fashion it into nests, thus climate-controlling their habitable environment, led to the evolution of many new sub-species of wasp, and allowed sociality to develop to such extremes that it became no longer optional.
Cities seen from space can remind us of huge beehives inhabited by millions of individuals working together. Bringing the perspective back to the individual’s eye-level, and bringing time back to day-by-day routine, one can wonder how much these human architectural and infrastructural environments affect us on an individual and species-based level, evolutionarily. This exhibition brings together several artists the works of whom are largely influenced by the environment they find themselves living in.
The sculptural works of John Szlaza made from various construction and found street materials such as cement, plywood, rebar, and metal netting, reflect his background in the industrial and seemingly ecologically post-apocalyptic environment of urban New Jersey, his studio practice in industrial Brooklyn, and his involvement in skateboarding culture, itself so dependent upon the use and subversion of these same concrete landscapes.
Sergey Sapozhnikov photographs his self-constructed compositions made form the detritus of his hometown, Rostov-on-Don, which he carefully places in the surrounding natural and urban environment. Often including human subjects precariously inserted into his sculptural set pieces, his large-scale photographs poetically convey the tensions and uncertainty of contemporary Russia’s socio-political problems. His latest series for which he collaborated with Rostov-on-Don dancers are juxtaposed with recent architectural photographs of urban Rostov.
Through a series of sculptural and photographic works, documenting, reproducing and reinterpreting the Venezuelan phenomenon of utilizing and customizing the grilles of ordinary room fans into television antennae, Esperanza Mayobre explores the results of human resourcefulness in the face of political and economic adversity, and the contradictions and paradoxes of what access to a government controlled media ultimately represents. The ubiquitous antennae, themselves delicate metal constructions, inhabit their own strata of the urban landscape as a communal work of self-made public art.
Ruy Sanchez Blanco’s photographic work primarily explores and addresses the physical characteristics of urban development and entropy, and what it means for people to exist among the noise, dust and decay of the cycles of rise and ruin of a contemporary metropolis. The images presented are among his latest work in a project that has spanned 20 years of documenting the ever-evolving city of New York, where the only stability left in architecture seems to be the constantly changing landscape, populated by cranes, scaffolds and power shovels.
Daria Irincheeva’s sculptural compositions made from objects found in environmentally devastated or geologically changing areas of New York City are juxtaposed with large prints of bodies of water from geographically diverse regions, that vary greatly in their ecological profiles, ranging from the pristine to the catastrophically polluted. The video and accompanying zine present a satellite-view of our planet illustrating and underlining the differences in land cultivation worldwide.
Likky Ruph – 122 Waterbury Street, Brooklyn, NY.
2 March – 13 March 2016