The artist #Gabriela #Bettini (#Madrid, 1977) takes over from #Regina de #Miguel and #Linarejos #Moreno in the third edition of #Derivative, program promoted by #Fundación #Banco #Santander, with #Topography of the erasure (#Wapití), a work that reflects his concern for the extinction of natural habitats and animal species. The basis from which he has started to create this piece is a diorama from the #American #Museum of #Natural #History in #New #York and with it he wants to invite the viewer to reflect on the reality behind this instrument that emerged with a pedagogical vocation.
#Derivative is a program of artistic creation, dissemination and research, starring #Spanish mid-career creators whose work is linked to science. #One of its main objectives is to vindicate the role of women within the artistic sphere and promote contemporary graphic art. #This project, which arose within a context in which 60% of #Fine #Arts students are women but only 18% of women are part of the permanent collection of contemporary art museums in our country, is three years old. with the engraving that #Bettini has devised for the occasion.
#Erasure topography (#Wapiti) takes the title of the exhibition that could be seen at the #Sabrina #Amrani gallery during the months of #September and #October. #After giving it several turns, #Bettini believed that the most natural thing would be to do a continuation of that project in which art and science intersect. #In this series, the artist studies the confluence of artistic and scientific systems in natural history museums in some western capitals, formed since the 19th century. “All the paintings in the series are inspired by the #American #Museum of #Natural #History. I have been working for years on projects in which I am reviewing the history of art and painting and seeing how nature has been represented from a #European perspective. The question is whether this way of painting and representing nature in #Latin #America has been able to strengthen the hegemonic idea that nature can be exploited without limits ”, says #Bettini.
#His works are presented from an ecofeminist perspective and through the painting of colonized landscapes of #Latin #America the artist approaches “different painters or ways of portraying them. I was interested in the dioramas because in their construction there are not only animals in taxidermy but the background is painted by a painter, who what he does is capture those landscapes to transfer them to the diorama. #Even in an innocent way, they participate in expeditions that are always colonizers”, #He argues.
The artist “submits to a critical vision the concepts of knowledge of natural history based on the premise that there is a separation between nature and human beings. The degradation of nature, turned into a mere apparatus of production and reproduction at the service of humanity, is inextricably linked to the history of #European science ”, writes #Katrin #Steffen in the text linked to this work. #Furthermore, the landscapes recreated in these tools that were born with a pedagogical vocation are not always objective.
#One of #Bettini’s sources has been the text The patriarchy of the #Teddy #Bear by feminist writer and thinker #Donna #Haraway. #In this essay, #Haraway focuses on the dioramas in the museum’s #African wing and argues that “the representation is anthropocentric, placing the animals in hierarchies of race and gender and posing family models that convey the moral values of those who built the museum” explains #Bettini. #For his part, #Steffen adds that #Haraway “disavowed dioramas for being” significant machines “at the service of a modern evolutionary discourse whose values recreate paternalism, racism and sexism”.
#In this sense, the dioramas, presented as windows that reproduce natural ecosystems, “are part of a specific XIX century museography. #You no longer work like that, museums are more up-to-date in their formats and ways of representing nature. #When they became fashionable it was a widespread practice in #North #America and #Europe. #This responds to an anthropocentric look at nature that thinks that humans are not part of it and, therefore, that we can dominate it ”. #However, as heirs of that look, #Bettini states “from a critical viewpoint that we are part of nature, we are eco-dependent on it and we must take care of it.”
Therefore, the work #Erased topography (#Wapiti) represents a landscape in which we see the utensils of a painter who tries to capture the space he sees but there are no signs of animal or human presence. “The moment of construction of the artifice of nature through landscape painting is the protagonist of this engraving, in which attention is divided between the landscape background and the artist’s utensils that, through painting, wants to show us nature through its representation within the museum “, #Bettini writes. #This scene, therefore, takes us to natural history museums, to a nature that is exhibited encapsulated together with dissected species, extinct or in danger of extinction, which no longer live in their natural habitat because this is also condemned to disappear due to intensive monoculture, a practice that aims to imply that “deforestation is not so serious because it is about replacing a species of plant for another ”. #But the reality is quite different.”The process of organization, erasure and disappearance of specimens is expressed through the absence of animals in usual taxidermy of dioramas., as well as the person who is painting the landscape. “
#In this sense, #Bettini believes that art has the necessary scope to be a political tool. #Although his approach, precise, is poetic and not pamphlet.
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##Gabriela ##Bettini #criticizes #representation #nature #decoration