Hayden Fowler’s artistic strategy involves the construction of conceptually layered, immersive installations and scenography. His work depicts scenarios ranging from pristine futuristic interiors to post-apocalyptic or historical landscapes. Within these spaces, choreographies between plants, animals and ideas of the machine unfold, weaving mysticism, technology, architecture and life forms into strange new systems. These speculative spaces lead to hyperreal videos, photographic works, installations and performances. Thematically, Fowler’s work bridges the realms of environmental science and cultural history, exploring the human and ecological histories of landscape from post-colonial and post-industrial perspectives. These works explore the aftermaths of both mechanistic and exploitative conceptions of nature, and their implication in the catastrophic breaking down of the eco-sphere. His work seeks to counter absences within dominant Western discourse by re-examining the historical scope and significance of ecological loss; its affects on the human psyche and culture; and the subjugated psychological and spiritual significances of the human-nature relationship.
Broken Romance immerses the visitor in a hyper-real spatial construction. A large-format industrial steel structure supports a living field of grass and fledgling forest, although every aspect of its survival feels precarious in the high artifice of this situation. Accompanying the installation, a virtual reality overlay transports the viewer to another version of this dystopian landscape – where dust swirls in an apparent vacuum above freshly cut stumps, and a bare uprooted tree hovers over the space, radiating loss. An endless flight of white swans passes through this assumed end-time scenario, disappearing towards a murky horizon where the complete nothingness of destruction appears to begin. Fowler experiments with a double time-space layer and explores modes of violence enacted on landscape. In this stratified view of the Anthropocene where both past and present are infused with melancholy, hope struggles on in the empathetic memory of the lost, and in the sensitivity of interplay between living systems, man and technology.
11.04. – 05.05.2019
Tue - Sun: 2 - 7pm
is a grantee of the
Australia Council for the Arts
Hayden Fowler, Broken Romance, installation view, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, 2019. Foto: David Brandt