Artist Mat Collishaw’s latest exhibition, titled Arrhythmia, explores the disruptive and irregular aspects of nature while urging humanity to reflect on its relationship with the natural world. The exhibition is housed at the Borusan Contemporary’s Haunted Mansion on the Bosporus coast and offers visitors a multidisciplinary experience that merges art history, culture, and science.
Collishaw, a British contemporary artist known for his innovative and provocative work, captures the arrhythmic nature of the environment and weaves it into a philosophical narrative of binary oppositions. The title of the exhibition, Arrhythmia, refers to an abnormal heartbeat and draws attention to a different kind of disruption, creating a space where science and art intersect, reminiscent of eschatological times.
During a press preview, curator Alice Sharp emphasized the relationship between humans and nature, highlighting the limitations of rationality and theory in understanding the natural world. She advocated for a more sensory-based approach, echoing transcendental concepts. According to Sharp, Collishaw’s created world parallels Emmanuel Kant’s perspective on the relationship between nature and science.
The exhibition serves as a plea from nature itself, calling on humanity to remember its place within the natural order. The meticulously designed video installations immerse viewers in captivating environments, transporting them through various scenes. The exhibition begins with plant imagery inside Wardian cases, symbolizing transportation and preservation, before transitioning to scenes of vibrant natural beauty. However, the visuals then shift to a burnt and barren forest, representing the consequences of destruction.
Collishaw selected Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings to accompany one of the installations, providing a haunting melancholy that resonates with the destruction depicted. Another installation features nature reclaiming the physical space of the National Gallery, emphasizing the hubris of humanity and the potential for a future where humans have vanished entirely.
The artwork also pays homage to classical vanitas paintings, which symbolize the transience of life and critique human hubris in collecting and possessing objects recklessly. Collishaw combines Ernst Haeckel’s illustrations of marine creatures and Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to create a vision of the ongoing apocalypse in nature.
One of Collishaw’s signature installations focuses on the excessive proliferation of jellyfish, contrasting them with an octopus to symbolize conformity versus uniqueness. The installation creates an optical illusion, challenging viewers’ perspectives and encouraging contemplation of free will.
The exhibition delves into the intricate dynamics of humanity’s connection with nature, especially during a time when aggression towards the environment is prevalent. Collishaw and Sharp aim to raise awareness of these challenges rather than providing solutions. The arrhythmic experience created by witnessing the destruction portrayed in the exhibition invites visitors to reflect on their own relationship with nature.
Arrhythmia is open for visitation at Borusan Contemporary’s Haunted Mansion until August 18th.