By Giorgia Ferro
An intriguing contemporary art exhibition, “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Everywhere” was recently presented at MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna and will be running from the 9th of June to the 8th of September, a show that connects the fields of environmental sciences, history and civilization through videos, installations and photographs.
The works on show are by the Swiss artist Julian Charrière who explores the themes of the history of science, of the development of the culture of media, romanticism and the contemporary environmental crisis.
Similar to an archaeologist, the artist scrutinizes past events to understand what may be, whilst reflecting on the present. His projects are often the result of field work in remote locations, with strong geophysical subjects; volcanoes, glaciers, radioactive sites, looking towards distant landscapes in extreme conditions. From his expeditions around the globe, the artist manages to bring out not only the pure and simple beauty of nature but also its vulnerability and the split between nature and civilization.
By revealing environmental catastrophes caused by man, in places like the Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands, the former nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, a palm monoculture from Indonesia or, more recently, the sea depths, Charrière does not express a moral judgment, but rather reveals the invisible forces that shape the landscape, from geological phenomenon to the thirst for resources in the digital age, without excluding, on a more immaterial level, the cultural projections with which humanity changes its meaning and perception of places.
The spacious rooms at MAMBO guide you to reflect on the themes of the ephemeral, of the passing of time and the attempts of mankind to dominate the natural environment.
One of the installations that attracts the visitors attention is We Are All Astronauts, made up of suspended globes, deprived of information or geographical locations. Using globes produced between 1890 and 2011, the artist has scratched away the different geopolitical boundaries that succeeded each other over time through a special self-produced abrasive paper created with mineral samples from all the countries recognized by the United Nations. The dust generated by the abrasion is deposited gently under the spheres, creating new ones, cartographies in an increasingly globalized world in which the defined contours of the territories become even more useless.
In the final area of the exhibition the visitor moves behind the mirror of Narcissus an allusion to today’s multi narcissistic world dominated by social media. Silent World and Where Waters Meet present a phantasmagorical underwater realm. The works show images of naked divers as suspended in the depths of some Cenotes (caves of calcareous origin) of the Yucatàn, which seem to float slowly, disappearing into a submarine cloud. The descent into the silence of the abyss evokes numerous metaphorical allusions and incline us towards dreamlike reflections.