Collection of 15 inject prints 32.5 x 39 cm in a plush box and 3 framed photographs 70 x 100 cm
The collection shows 15 different plants and animals in bright and saturated colors photographed against a light blue background together with the tool that fixes their pose for the picture. By extracting the subject out of its context, Mrša borrows from encyclopedias, botanical collections, and Natural History Museums the analytic approach to nature. She subverts the supposed neutrality of this approach by adding the information about the method and tool of extracting it, adding props for fixing the photographed subjects in the desired position, and by minutely controlling light, shadows, and colors in each scene. In the direct physical act of picking, killing, segregating, relocating, and arranging, Mrša revisits familiar sources of knowledge about nature through discovering the paths of their production.
Aestheticized and discrepant prints of the plants and animals are then put in the environment that they usually inhabit: the local garden and the forest. The prints are supported by sticks pinned in the ground in a manner as gardeners mark which plants they expect to grow, but here they show the species that were extracted from the location.
The work was motivated by the hypocrisy that the artist felt towards the heritage of her childhood, once she found herself alone in direct contact with nature. Zoo, stuffed animals and pets, picture books, cartoons, animal, floral, and herbal motives in design, were all there as decorations and commodities, while the real, unmediated contact with untamed nature remained absent. The pleasure she expected to feel while being in nature was intertwined with anxiety provoked by the lack of similar experiences. Taking that moment as a starting point, Mrša’ s work highlights the dominant western lifestyle, its learning processes and props, as being opposite to neutral and being the support to the alienation that brings to the normalization of humans’ active exterminating of other species and permanent devastation of their own and of other species’ habitat. After making this work, Mrša became vegetarian.
Photo credits: Igor Brautović