"Gether Contemporary is proud to present Studio ThinkingHand's first solo exhibition in the gallery,Extremophilia. The Danish-Australian artist duo has created three series of works, all of which stem from a fascination of the extremes within nature.Extremophiliacombines the biological term for species that thrive under extreme conditions, 'extremophile', and 'philia', which is Greek for love. Based on themes such as coexistence, nature's sovereignty and climate change, Studio ThinkingHand questions how the World's species, in all sorts, may look in a future perspective.
The cornerstone of Studio ThinkingHand's practice is an extremely curious approach to relational, collective and speculative perspectives on the future of coexistence between species. With the ambition to explore a world view with humans being decentered, a special humility and embracement of yet undiscovered knowledge about nature's own systems arise. Three series of works are presented in the exhibition;Landscape Portraits, Deep TimeandHybrids, all three being based on life’s premise of constant change.
In the work seriesDeep Time, up to 12,000-year-old biological and geological sediments retrieved from extreme marine environments are cast into molten glass, which makes their frozen movement in the glass of this microcosm look like nebulae in the macrocosm of the universe. Human presence seems like a fraction of the planet's entire evolutionary history, while traces of past species in the seabed show time perspectives that are otherwise difficult to perceive. The sediments have, as part of different research projects, been collected in a number of extreme marine environments, from the Arctic to the Maldives, and becomes evidence for the life of species before human civilization.
In the monumental, circular works,Landscape Portraits, we meet breathtaking landscapes of eternity, its own sort of nature morte, where various plant species, fungi and algae are cast in epoxy and frozen in time. In the works, you experience bubbles that mix with the organic material. This is a result of reactions between the biological species and epoxy. Within the series, the organic material reacts and moves towards the idea of a biological and environmental ‘tipping point’.
Hybridsis a series of works which, on a speculative level, explores how new life can emerge in the future. Each sculpture is the result of 20 species being merged together, which, based on environmental DNA (eDNA), have been put together through artificial intelligence, and which have created a kind of fabulous hybrid or even an image of the opportunities for species meeting and creating new genetic relations.
In addition to a thorough, research-based practice, Studio ThinkingHand's new works also reach out to several art historical traditions, particularly the scientific perspectives of the Renaissance resonate in Studio ThinkingHand's artistic practice with a scientific starting point before aesthetic idea, form and expression. Contrary to the Renaissance idealization of the human individual as the center of the world, Studio ThinkingHand works from the idea of decentering humans to allow space for the cosmos of nature instead, which opens for contemporary approaches to the Anthropocene, discussions of nature/culture phenomena as well as new ecologies in the understanding of art.
Extremophiliaencourages new comtemplations of the beauty of the unknown, of cultivating the beauty of belonging to an art, but at the same time the awareness of our own and other species' existing communities. What remains is the basic premise for our biological movement and development, anchored in nature's cosmos.
A special thank you to Giuliana Panieri from The Arctic University of Norway for generous sediment samples supported by The Norwegian Research Council, REV Ocean and Alessandra Savini, University Milano Biococca, and Danilo Reitano, INGV Catania. Another special thanks to Luke E. Holman and Tom Gilbert from Section for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Copenhagen University, for providing eDNA data from Skagerak, funded by the European Research Council’s Seachange project, in order to understand marine environmental change"
Gether Contemporary, September 2023
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