For over twenty years, Swiss artist and author Ursula Biemann has been closely intertwining in her video essays contemporary ecological challenges, the extraction and unequal distribution of the Earth’s resources and migratory flows as a consequence of the pressure exerted on the environment and all living beings.
More than ever before, current events highlight the relevance of her complex vision, intertwining these social and environmental issues, this voracity in the exploitation of resources and the irreversible transformations of soils and entire ecosystems.
For the first time in France, this exhibition brings together a series of videos by the artist with a selection focusing on her environmental explorations.
Ursula Biemann guides us from the now bituminous plains of northern Canada to the flooded lands of Bangladesh; from the lush forests of Ecuador, where indigenous peoples are struggling legally to preserve their ecosystem and their cosmovision, to the invisible interactions and dramas that are being played within the depth of the oceans or in the Sami territories in Norway. Highly informed about current scientific research and philosophical or anthropological debates on ecological issues, the artist instils ecofeminist visions in her filmic work (an alliance of feminist and ecological conceptions to counter the exploitation of nature, the commodification of living beings and to promote gestures of repair).
It echoes the introduction of cosmological representations into law, and brings in non-human dimensions – that is, the integration of other living beings’ ways of thinking.
The exhibition also shows the evolution of her practice from her video essays giving voice to other geographies, to fictional or even science fiction stories. The territory of imagination and the invention of narratives emerge as possible paths today for envisaging new connections to the world and an ethical approach to relations with other species. Far from yielding to the prevailing catastrophism, Ursula Biemann thus invites us to reconnect with our original belonging to the natural order and to hear the voices of peoples who live in rich and respectful interactions with non-human beings.
Ursula Biemann’s work is regularly shown in international exhibitions and biennials (Liverpool, Sharjah, Shanghai, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo, Seville, Istanbul, Venice) and in festivals dedicated to the moving image. Based in Zurich, she was awarded the 2009 Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss Grand Award for Art.
This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Centre culturel Suisse, Paris.
It is part of the program Les Parallèles du Sud of Manifesta 13 Marseille – European touring Biennial.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC