The real constitutes itself by permanently overlapping with the symbolic and the imaginary. The relative emphasis assigned to the relationships between each of these three elements depends on the individual as well as on his or her presence. In the work of Bunny Rogers, affect, experience, identification and community, fiction and reality, imagination and physical presence merge into a present subject whose altered perception represents an entire generation.
We have little knowledge about the invertebrate beings in the pitch-black depths of the oceans; all the wilder have we imagined them for centuries. Giant squids, for example, have never before been seen in their own habitat, only debilitated and confused in harbors or dead on beaches or in the stomachs of sperm whales. As studies of smaller squids show, their sensoria and their brains are highly sensitive, their perception finely discriminating. Their eyes—extremely responsive owing to the relatively low degree of light loss—have insights into the abysses of the seas that remain hidden to us.
In her exhibition Pectus Excavatum, the American artist Bunny Rogers (b. 1990) is creating a landscape that subtly intertwines inside and outside, mountain peaks and ocean depths, thus exposing the framework of our conceptions of nature—as precise as they are oversimplified—in which knowledge and experience are inseparably linked with the imagination. Smells give rise to memories, hands freeze in ice. All elements are situated on the boundary between naturalism and fiction; they are both physically present and digital, both experiential space and two-dimensional image.
Courtesy of MMK, Frankfurt
Photos by Axel Schneider