As part of ongoing practice-led research, Natalia Bezerra presented a body of new work, exploring the complex relationship between our actions and the natural world, in a solo exhibition in Tent Gallery.
Rising concerns on the global climate crisis in a time of increasing socio-cultural complexity forms the basis of Natalia’s research. Her interests examine this complexity in our increasingly interconnected societies and their paradoxical relationship of division and union with the natural world, principally through a linear language.
In BOUND, what appear to be merely tree branches suspended in the gallery, at first glance, are the charred remains of twelve branches tightly entwined with wire, having been burned in a fire. Upon closer examination, the burnt remnants trapped within the wire, as well as the gaps present in these forms start to become recognizable. Moving around the installation provides the viewer with different perspectives of the work, with its linear qualities always intersecting regardless of where one’s standing – it is a form of three-dimensional drawing, developed in response to the increasing prevalence of catastrophic wildfires and deforestation threats.
Natalia seeks to challenge assumptions about our inability to combat the effects of climate change, bringing into question humanity’s tendency to create both physical and mental barriers in our interconnected world.
Inspired by the complex linear language found in tree canopies during a residency at Pishwanton Wood, near Edinburgh, Natalia sought to represent the interconnectedness among all living and non-living beings and systems. The perceived intersecting linear qualities of Bound are representative of this interconnectivity; however, the actual fragmented nature of the work presents the viewer with our disassociated awareness in the face of environmental catastrophe.
Her choice for using wire in the work is due to the material’s widespread use in creating boundaries — physical barriers across the landscape that divide ourselves from the rest of life. The processes of entwining and burning, as well as the confined configuration of the work itself, become emblematic of humanity’s impact in our ecological entanglement.
Adjacent to BOUND was the sculpture, CIVILISED, a plinth wrapped in branches of decay left over from the fire. One’s focus on these lines, mapped onto the plinth begins to unravel a map of Edinburgh’s road network. These networks run downward towards a mound of carbon, signaling the destructive aspects of civilisation’s advancement. This work, in conjunction with BOUND, shows the impact our actions not only have on the natural world, but also on ourselves.
A further projected work, MOSAICS, was exhibited in the cinema space, which depicted a subtly changing series of images of a figure in a woodland. Shadows depicting the linear language of the woods become darker and darker, appearing vein-like on the subject. The human eventually becomes unrecognizable; her individual identity is lost as she becomes completely entangled in these networks.
MOSAICS, which was a collaboration with fellow ASN student, Audrey Yeo, explored the human identity within the ecological entanglement. The gradual development of the time-lapse piece signals a merging with the landscape — the sought intimate union between humanity and the natural world. The work lends itself to notions of Queer Ecology, bringing into question how we distinguish ourselves as humans from nonhumans if our existence is dependent on relationality (T. Morton). The intimacy of this experience, which is only possible through direct observation and engagement with the natural world, introduces a sense of empathy and renewal, necessary during times of ecological catastrophe.