2020 - Ongoing
“Interplay, Enmeshment, and Matter” is a series of photographs, projections, and sounds combined to form site-specific, multisensory collections and installations.
This one is entitled ANIMA and was exhibited at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle in Switzerland. I was a carte blanche given by the museum director Nathalie Herschdorder. It is an installation of 12 suspended photographs on recto-verso aluminum frames accompanied by two soundscapes that echo each other.
"“Anima” is a Latin word meaning soul and breath. It evokes both inner dialogue and imagination. By making her works float in space, Mauren Brodbeck plunges us into the heart of nature through her filter –her palette of colours, modified images, and an unusual sound environment. By creating such a singular visual and sound space, the artist invites the public to enter a garden that evokes a dream landscape rather than a realistic documentation of nature. With Anima, Brodbeck explores materials, colours, textures and sounds, both in the image and sound. The plant world is put into a vibratory state, because it must appeal to our senses and emotions. The artist’s visual and sound variations can be developed endlessly. By moving away from a traditional representation of nature, she invites us to enter into a relationship with a different type of plant environment. Through this immersive space, the artist encourages each of us to let our intuition carry us along. If Brodbeck disturbs what we know of nature, it is because she seeks to create a connection with the invisible, or rather the intangible. Anima takes us beyond the surface of the plant world – a surface that has literally been digitally transformed. Capturing sounds during the creative process is essential for Mauren Brodbeck: scratching photographs or physical contact with the plants contributes to the exploration of the material. The exhibition space thus constitutes an environment where the soundscape echoes the visual landscape, and vice versa. As you walk through this space, you are invited to listen to your own feelings. Conceived as a garden suspended in time and space, Brodbeck’s work refers to the traditional symbolism of the garden: between contemplation and pleasure, it is also a sacred space and a possibility to reconnect with an intimate world. With this installation, Brodbeck reinterprets a common experience: the walk in nature. Her garden sparkles to better address our emotions and sensibilities. Finally, Anima is also an exploration of the “Anima Mundi”: described by philosophers as the soul of the world, it consists of seeing nature as a living being, or rather a divine essence that encompasses and energises every life in the universe." Nathalie Herschdorfer
My work took an unexpected turn when our lives abruptly transformed during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have always been concerned about our natural landscapes, nature, and the spaces that humans occupy—and how these spaces are transformed and destroyed in that process. But as humans reduced their activities, we saw for the first time in modern history how greatly our daily activities impact our environment. Within days, fish ventured back into the Venice canals, wildlife began exploring newly empty streets, and global CO2 emissions dropped worldwide. Nature’s ability to reappear and reoccupy the spaces humans usually take was incredibly impactful.
I had two takeaways from this experience. First: that humans have an unshakable need to dominate and take over natural territories. Second: that nature has an undestroyable power to reemerge and continue growing. I was fascinated by the idea that nature has this powerful force and could decide to stop using it. I also became interested in the notion that destruction could be viewed as a transformation and that there is no creation without destruction.
As a result of these new interests, I decided to investigate the idea of control and the tension between materiality and immateriality in imagery, sound, and non-linguistic forms of gesture. That led me to imagine installations and pathways as three-dimensional kinaesthetic setups.
This affected my artistic process and how I explore the interplay and relationships between man and nature. Having to let go of control also meant letting go of control over the outcome of my imagery and inviting chance into the process. In an age where the vast majority of images are manipulated with specific goals, I deliberately choose to let go and use randomness, intuition, and experimentation in my work.