CIRCULAR + SATELLITE + SECOND NATURE, 2015
In Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s most recent work, the series Circular Wait [2010–2014], she has focused on examining our oftentimes artificial and contradictory relationship with nature – a relationship that is largely about control. Like Satellite [2009-10], Circular Wait proceeds from the longing for the authentic and wild that is fundamental to many subcultures that to a greater or lesser degree distance themselves from urban culture. Seeking to live in harmony with nature is often exclusive and only accessible to a select few. Other problematic dimensions include issues of sustainability and gender. The wilderness is not big enough for everyone to live in and warm themselves by an open fire, and, in most cases, a return to a more “original” life involves a return to more rigid gender roles.
In Circular Wait images from places such as eco villages, Rainbow Gatherings, and Teaching Drum – a stone-age survival school – are juxtaposed with different forms of outdoor life and encounters in or about nature, situations of contemplation or surveillance. The images of lone birdwatchers or hunters remind us of our own vulnerability while monitoring another, drawing parallels to the surveillance society of today. Documentary elements alternate with color and light abstractions in artificial colors that infuse the images with a dream-like, painterly dimension, while bringing to mind pollution, poison, and other forms of environmental destruction.
Both Circular Wait and Satellite exposes the fragile balance between humankind, culture, sustainability, and nature. The title Circular Wait refers to a state in harmony with the cycles of nature, but by extension also to an inability to break a pattern. The images evoke questions regarding our human shortcomings and capture the anxiety of our times that comes from knowing what we should do from an environmental perspective while at the same time finding it difficult to live up to the expectations of real change. Another element is the exploration of the simultaneously regressive and visionary desire to live closer to nature. An interest in what is complex and contradictory runs like a common thread through Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s work, in which the photographic process becomes an investigation into our dualistic nature and how the self relates to the outside world.
Slipcase including three books of two separate projects, Satellite + Circular Wait followed by a smaller book, Second Nature, including an essay and an interview with the artist.