Man vs Nature

The garden as a point of contact between Nature and Culture

August 14th, 2019
Gloria Algarotti, News from Berlin
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A temporary exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin thematizes, analyses and reflects upon the motif of the garden as a metaphor for our world and the current state of society.

From July 26th until December 1st 2019 the institution and exhibition venue of the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin is hosting and showcasing works of art of over 20 international artists alongside with workshops, guided tours and musical entertainment programs which explore deeper the exposition’s topic.

The motif of the garden has a long history and tradition spacing from the Christian religion to profane traditions, passing through the arts and poetry, the discourses on the opposition of Man and Nature until the more recent discussions about the environment and extinction of some of the Earth’s flora due to the climate change.

The exhibition at the Gropius Bau emphasises the duality of the space of the garden. Gardens are form of tamed nature, modified by men according to their needs and tastes. The garden is a space on the border between the harmony of Nature and the chaos of its untamable power, a space where to find peace and tranquillity, but also where dangers hide around the corner. In this regard, not only Nature is analysed in the exhibited artworks and installations, but also the relation that Men have developed with it throughout different times and cultural context.

Starting from the classical reading of the garden as a place for mental and spiritual peace and meditation the exhibition combines this paradisiacal dimension with the one of the potential catastrophic power which lies in Nature itself. The whole exhibition takes inspiration from the Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, which dates back between 1535 to 1550. The painting is tripartite and shows three different kinds of gardens. The perfect and sacral Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, the garden of delights, eroticism and sensory pleasures and a evil garden and place of dannation.

This is the point of departure of the exhibition which also thematizes current issues and problems of our global society. Topics such as climate change, migration flows, the colonial past and the recent discussions about the anthropocene are dealt through the various artworks. The exhibition aims at promoting the development of a better relation between Men and Nature, in which both entities live in harmony and benefit to each other.

In the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, in which people have more contact to technological devices rather than with nature, plants and animals and in which nature has almost become a good at men’s free disposal, a drastic change of mentality is a challenge, but maybe also the only possible solution for the safeguard of our Planet and all its living creatures.


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