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Schrubbery

Collaborative show with Mike Fijen & Sebastián González de Gortari.

B32, Maastricht, NL.

2022
Let us not speak of the artworks, for they can do that very well by themselves. Instead, take a look at the place where they have gathered.  The green oppressing ambiance, the mixed smell of incense, epoxy resin and fresh bamboo leaves, the digital imitation of bird sounds, the dripping of sewage water. They have called it a Shrubbery and have hidden creatures,icons and potions behind the leaves, histories behind the term itself. The big bold claim is that any gathering of enough branches and foliage becomes Forest, yes, with capital F. But a Shrubbery belongs in a garden you say, an English one preferably. And yes, the shrubbery is not the wilderness of the forest. It is tamed, pampered, neutered, that is, it is culture. Hand picked, arranged around man's pleasure. But is wilderness ever really tamed or simply repressed, put away to boil and fester? Are there not bugs and birds that fuck and fight in even the most disinfected bushes of the suburbs? And what of the plants themselves, feeding on the buried dead and fighting close-quarters wars against all kinds of parasites, forming uneasy alliances with the fungi kingdoms? Werner Herzog calls it “The harmony of collective murder”.

In the end the Shrubbery is still a part of Forest. The Forest function. That phenomenon which emerges from a thick gathering of related elements. Thickly gathered trees make a vegetation forest. That is but a subset of a greater category. Symbols gather, make a forest of symbols. A knife forest. A forest of poisons. A forest of grinning faces. A forest of unexpected encounters. Welcome, step on it.
Text: Sebastián González de Gortari
Pictures: Myrthe Ingenhut