“François Jacob once aptly wrote that evolution does not work like an engineer, but rather like a tinkerer pottering around in the garage. Living creatures are full of haphazardly adapted solutions, design flaws, unnecessary details and other funny things. That is exactly what makes them so fascinating.” ¹
For me biodiversity is a great source of creativity and a fascinating playground for artistic processes. I am truly grateful to all the plants and fishes which open up a magnificent world to me being both familiar and magically strange.
This is a small tribute to nature, considering that plants most probably are better off without us humans – on the other hand, the human race without plants would most certainly go extinct.
When I plant a seed in the soil and manage to grow a seedling and even a large plant from it, it is actually such a miraculous and at the same time the most natural thing in the world.
Last summer, I was swimming a lot and it made me think about the discovery of a living coelacanth, which ought to have died out with the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago. This deep-sea fish is closely related to humans as well as other back-boned animals. What if we as a species – I contemplated – were by a whim of nature to grow large fins or start breathing underwater through gills.
Natural selection works everywhere even now. When we look far enough into the past, there is finally one common ancestor of species. We all carry in our cells ancient memories from the early walks of life. Strange characteristics that are a testament to their evolutionary history.
The creatures I assemble do not follow evolutionary theories but are my own imaginative evolutionary stories. Neither animal nor plants can make conscious decisions, they evolve or mutate. In my artistic work I am able to create a world in which they transform into mythical creatures. There is a touch of surrealism, and a bow towards flora and fauna reinventing themselves again and again in order to continue to exist.
Ulla-Mari Lindström is a Kuopio-based photographic and media artist and a natural art researcher. Since 2014, she has been working on a series of works known as “Natural Art Collection”. In the 1990s, she lived in Amsterdam for years and studied photography and painting at Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Lindström has also studied photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. In 2015 and 2019, she visited the Arcapacha artist residence in the mountainous region of Tolima in Colombia. She examines nature from the perspective of a researcher-artist and, based on her observations, creates imaginary hybrids and media installations.
The exhibition has been supported by Arts Promotion Center and The city of Kuopio
¹ Maija Karala, biologist, science journalist and illustrator: Blog: “Erään planeetan ihmeitä”
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Gallery name: Galleria Huuto
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Open: 18.09.2020 - 11.10.2020