– Or: The dream of a pure nature in the Anthropocene
The engagement with nature is one of the most fundamental motives of artistic creation. From the study of the human body to romantic or impressionistic outdoor paintings, to Land Art or digitally constructed depictions of nature – again and again it seems to be the beauty of pure natural phenomena that sparks the involvement with nature and motivates artistic research.
Certainly since Kant’s differentiation of “Naturschönheit” and “Kunstschönheit”, the question has arisen as to whether the depiction of nature is something unnatural and imaginary in itself. In this line of thought: how do humans as natural beings behave in a world dominated and demystified by themselves?
In his research trip to the Norwegian island Øygarden, Cosmo Großbach traces the paradox of nature and technology, as he searches for pure nature on his travels and ultimately documents it photographically in a symbiotic relationship with industrial structures. Forests and waters, hills and rivers are intertwined with pipes, car tires, bridges or fences, parts of an industry which in turn enable the wealth of the nearby city.
Thus, the black and white photographs reveal forms of human interference on nature. At first artistic research in the seemingly natural space is recorded and transformed into images through manual dexterity and technical processes. Then the profit-driven takeover of the industry of these very natural spaces, and finally the fusion of nature and culture into a new unity, into a new form of (cultural) beauty that merges with the artist’s vantage point through the medium of photography.
Cosmo Großbach: Insel Øygarden, Testprints auf PE Papier, 24×30,5cm.