Collection of 15 prints in a plush box, framed photographs
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. While adopting the representation of nature from the established sources of knowledge like encyclopedia, botanical collections, and natural museum exponents, in which the analytic approach of extracting the subject from its context is regularly used, Exploring environment 2 collection removes the neutrality of this approach and makes it an integral part of the final scene by adding the information about the method and tool of extracting and manipulating the colorful subjects.
Aestheticized but discrepant representations of the plants and animals are put in the environment that they usually inhabit: around the house and in the forest, immediate urban and suburban landscape. They are installed in a manner as gardeners are marking which plants they expect to grow, but this time they show the species that were extracted.
In each direct physical act of picking, killing, segregating, relocating and arranging, Mrša revisits familiar sources of knowledge through discovering the paths through which they were produced.
The work was motivated by the hypocrisy that the artist felt towards heritage from her childhood, once she found herself alone in direct contact with nature. The pleasure she expected to feel was intertwined with anxiety provoked by the lack of previous similar experiences. Animal, floral, and herbal motives in design, zoo, stuffed animals and pets serve as decorations and commodities, while the real, unmediated contact with untamed nature remains absent. Humans are actively exterminating other species and permanently devastating their own and other species habitat. Prevalent western lifestyle, it’s props and learning processes are not neutral but help such an alienation to extend. After making this work, Mrša became vegetarian.
Photo credits: Igor Brautović