E-Flux Press Release

For The Present and The Future sections of The Garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times, contemporary artists working within a range of different media have been invited to explore the garden as a space. Through site-specific installations, video, sound, painting, and sculpture, The Present and The Future open up to a variety of voices and perspectives on the garden, and nature in general, as sites of contradiction marked with complex cultural differences in terms of both conception and perception.

Taking place in the city of Aarhus, at the Natural History Museum, in the park Mindeparken, the local night club Shen Mao, several industrial buildings on the city’s industrial harbour as well as stretching along the coastline from Tangkrogen to Ballehage (see the page), artists insert nature in a narrative of symbolic and historic meaning, exploring both its materiality and mythology.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2017

The ARos Triennale, The Present & The Future

Aarhus (Denmark)

03.06 - 30.07.2017




A common feature of the artists is their material and mythological approach to the garden, focusing on both symbolic and historical significance and changeability. In The Present and The Future, we areee thus presented with nature, not just as a physical world that surrounds us, but as a construction reflecting a range of shifting political, metaphorical, physical, and social conditions.

In a time where mass immigration and a sense of economic instability contribute to a growing insecurity and fear throughout the world, the failed effort to tackle climate change is still seen as one issue that may have severe consequences. Today, manu artists thus focus on investigating man’s still more threatening intervention in nature and on the challenges faced by what has been named the Anthropocene spoch, the slice of Earth’s history during which humans have become a major geological force. Counting the world’s mining activities atone, humans currently move more sediment than all the world’s rivers combined. We have also warmed the planet, raised sea levels, eroded the ozone layer, and acidified the oceans. Given the magnitude of these changes, many reserachers suggest that the Anthropocene represents a new division of geological time.

Several artists explore sustainable change, seeking new ecological and sustainable models for future ways of interacting with nature and connecting it to daily life. When asking contemporary artists to relate their work to the concept of the garden and man’s relation to nature, the present as well as its future, no unanimous answer of vision is given. Contemporary art’s engagement with nature is a ‘garden of forking paths’, to quote the time of a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, a labyrinth and simultaneity of different expressions. However, a common denominator does seem to be a wish to explore the thems of nature with the intention of expanding rather than circumscribing traditional categories and approaches. From the perspective of contemporary art, landscape and nature thus seems less of a palimpsest whose ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ meanings can be recovered with the correct techniques, theories, or ideologies than a flickering text whose meaning can be created, extended, altered, elaborated, and even obliterated.

Fujiko Nakaya, Untitled

Over the past 40 years, Fujiko Nakaya has installed her ‘fog sculptures’ all over the world. For The Garden, she has created one of her remarkable works on the roof or AroS. In the daytime, the work will appear from the rooftop of the museum, rising from the building in the form of a thick mist. The work is a site-specific installation that enters in dialogue with the building and she explains that ‘fog responds constantly to its own surroundings, revealing and concealing the features of the environment. Fog renders visible things invisible, and invisible things – like the wind – visible.

Ackroyd & Harvey, Vester Allé 7

Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have been collaborating since 1990, exploring the interface betwwen nature and structure through a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, architecture, and ecology. Their work reveals a time-based practice with an intrinsic bias towards process and event. Acroyd & Harvey are acclamed for their monumental works covering entire facades with grass. Working directly on the architectural structure, the ensuing growth is like a slowly unfolding drama as it moves from a state of life – enhancing germination towards inevitable demise.

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, Leviathan

Leviathan is an immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachussets, the country’s largest fishing port with more than 500 ships sailing from its harbour every month, Leviathan follows one such vesseln a hulking groundish trawler, into the murk black waters on a week-long fishing expedition. Nut instead of romanticising the labour or partaking in the longstanding tradition of tuning fisherfolk into icons, the film presents a vivid, almost kaleidoscopic staging of the work, the sea, the machinery, and the players.

Pia Sirén, Vista

Pia Sirén’s work is a largescale installation made of the familiar materials from a temporary construction site  : tarpaulins, plastic, wood, scaffolding, etc. Sirén creates a natural landscape using these artificial materials, presenting a fragment of nature that is at once concrete and dreamlike. The landscape is unmistakably man-made and the methods of construction are left visible. The work is constructed in the lietral sense of the word and deals with the cultural constructions that define ours ideas about nature, landscape, imagery, and identity.

Rune Bosse, tempus circularis fagus sylvatica

Rune Bosse frames the fragility of nature, adding a poetic dimension to the scientific examination of nature. During the course of a year, the artist dissected a tree only to plait it together again. Eveery three weeks, from April 2015 ti April 2016, Bosse cut a branch from a living beech tree, planed it down to a thickness of 2-3 mm, pressing it, thereby retaining ther colour and specific flowering phase. Thee tree was then assembled anew, and opened up so that the various seasons come together, and are interwoven into a composition that appears tranquil and dynamic at the same time.

Rune Bosse, The Root Lab

Rune Bosse’s work The Root Lab is an exploration of the root, an often invisible but important part of plants and trees. Roots play an important rôle in nutrient uptake as they help to bring soil nutrients up through the vascular tissue of plants and trees. In a magnificent mixed-media installation, Bosse dissects the scientific, poetic, and philosophical dimensions of the organic material as he investigates, dismanties, and reassembles it in new ways that expand our knowledge of the natural world.

Cyprien Gaillard, Koe

KOE features a flock of exotic roseringed parakeets with green feathers. The bird, which belongs to the genus of Psittaculan originated in Africa and Asia and was brought in Europe as a pet bird and kept in cages. In Düsseldorf, where the film work is set, a population of  roseringed parakeets has found a free ecological niche in the urban wilderness. It is breeding successfully and augmenting its population. In the evenings, the parakeets gather to sleep and their most popular spot is the trees located on the luxurious Köningsallee shopping street, a boulevard that extnds through Düsseldorf.

Ismar Cirkinagic, Herbarium

Since 2006, Cirkinagic has been collecting different plants growing in locations with mass graves in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They are dried and mounted behind glass accompanied by their Latin names and information pertaining to the specific genus and species of the plant. Furthermore, the names of the mass graves where the plants were found are noted as well as information on the number of bodies found in any particular grave. The series herbarium portrays a sinister chapter in European history while also visualing a poetic cycle where the deceased human body nurtures new life in nature.

Doug Aitken, The Garden

The Garden is a living artwork that embraces change and the dichotomy between the natural environment and the synthetic man-made experience. It is a multi-layer sculpture. The outer ring contains a lush green forest, dense life and breathing moisture and oxygen. Inside is a transparent room, a man-made environment, with generic elements of modern life. This space, based on an ‘anger room’ is a space where individuals can destroy around them. This tension between passive/active and synthetic/natural is at the core of the work.


The ARos Triennale, The Present & The Future, Aarhus

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2017. All Rights Reserved