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By Carrie Miller
Hayden Fowler’s practice is concerned with the historical notion of the idea of ‘nature’ as and its shifting and fraught relationship to human culture. In his latest exhibition, New Romantic, the exhibition specifically portrays these ideas in order to explore our feelings of alienation from nature in witty and poignant ways.
There are three bodies of works in New Romantic, utilizing the three mediums of photography, video and sculpture which Fowler produced since 2010 and which were developed in Berlin, Sydney and New Zealand.
The most fascinating of these works is the video piece, New World Order. It was shot inside the artist’s studio within a carefully constructed set. The background is a photographic diorama and there are a cluster of trees which are in fact sculptural installations. Within this invented landscape, which is part-wild life documentary, part hyper-real video art, are a number of rare species of chickens which Fowler has trained to follow commands in order to move among this idealised and yet entirely fake natural setting. It’s a piece which reveals the tensions between nature and culture through the construction of a post-human landscape where nature has appeared to regain its power.
Ultimately the work raises questions about the loss involved in progress and our longing for freedom – for a long-lost connection to nature that global consumer culture increasingly cuts us off from but that remains alive through the possibility of a regenerated nature – even if it’s a nature we create.
Until March 30
Artereal Gallery, Rozelle
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