Bonsai Landscape 2003

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Environmental installation artists have long been concerned with the complex and potentially contradictory relationship between human society and the natural environment. This research seeks to pursue these concerns via an interrogation of the built environment and its impact on our cultures relationship to nature. The researching asks whether representational signs indicating a regulated landscape lead to the delusion that wilderness and natural forces are tamed and commodified. The installation Bonsai Landscape consists of hundreds of cardboard cut-outs reminiscent of free-standing ‘point of a sale’ advertisements. Displayed on the floor, the installation is innovative in its combination of cartography in the shape of the map of the 2004 Canberra bush fire and commercial production methods that allude to the regulation of nature. By utilizing a grid structure this research relegates life forms to efficient systems of management, reducing the natural environment to a consumer item. Representing a regulated, cultivated, facade of nature that, ironically, was destroyed by wild fire, the installation philosophically invites analysis of humanity’s delusional sense of separation from wildness, and its perceived superiority over natural forces. The work Bonsai Landscape was created at the invitation of the Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA for the exhibition Outside Inside: Fragments in Place. This was the museums first exhibition on installation art and involved eight invited Australian artists who each spent an intensive two week research period at the museum. The work was also accepted for the 2005 National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
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Ely, Bonita Ann
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Beaumont, Julian
Dr. Gray, Anna
Heart, Deborah
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