In Nature Nothing Exists Alone

CURA.: Following previous shows in Italy, such as the large-scale wall painting show How to Grow and Still Stay the Same Shape at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in 2019, you now pay tribute to the Maremma with In Nature Nothing Exists Alone, 2022, an environmental installation presented by CURA. in the framework of Hypermaremma, a festival taking place every year in and around the landscape of Pescia Fiorentina. This site-specific artwork with a length of more than one hundred meters is an entanglement of pine trunks from the Monte Amiata’s thinning, which respects the forest’s life cycle. Can you expand on your thoughts about the memory of materials and the wisdom which the arts and crafts entail?

Clauda Comte: It's really important to keep making people aware that living or inanimate things around us (like stone, marble, mountains, trees) are actually time capsules, meaning they preserve traces of events from the past. That means they can reveal a lot about climate change. For example, a few years ago I did an artist residency in Ekaterinburg, where I spent two months with dendrochronologists, scientists who analyze past climate based on the annual rings of trees. It's fascinating to learn that by looking at these rings, by looking at the life of a tree through a microscope, we can get all kinds of information, such as a drought, a flood, or a volcanic eruption that might have occurred. Through these living things, we can become aware of our past, weather conditions, climate changes and other events. In this time of climate catastrophe, we should really be more conscious of all these incredibly valuable things around us: Every time we cut down a big tree, we cut away a part of our history. I find it fascinating that these living things, the trees, can somehow tell us something about our own history. It’s important to me that the wood and trunks for my work had always been cut down for forestry reasons and I simply reuse them.

CURA.: In Nature Nothing Exists Alone is already the third project in the long-lasting collaboration between CURA. and yourself, initiated with your first Italian solo show curated by Samuel Leuenberger La Ligne Claire at BASEMENT ROMA back in 2017 which then continued in the form of Heatwave last year in the framework of The Dreamers58th October Salon Belgrade Biennale 2021. These works are as much a testament to your explicit expansiveness as they are to the multi-layered combination of media and subject matter at stake. They range from wood to marble to abstract patterns and invite us to become one to our own point of view. It is an immersion into in-& outdoor environment, which change the parameters of bodily presence within the space. How did you interact with the Maremma, its wheat field, and the aerial and terrestrial perspectives?

CC: When I was invited to think about an Installation in the Maremma, I was very excited by this idea because more than 10 years ago I spent one year at the Swiss Institute in Rome and I was used to go to the Maremma regularly as Romans do. It was at that time that I discovered the Maremma. It is the region in all of Italy I prefer the most because it’s still partly very wild and I love the open landscape. I was expected to propose something rather big but I wanted something very minimal too while at the same time following our common notion, one we shared between Hypermaremma, CURA. and myself, to use, as much as possible, material sourced from the region. What followed was a very clear idea of a wooden trunk piece installation that acts as a sign for everyone to have access to - conceptually as we as physically. The vision was turned into reality and I loved to create this gigantic installation playing with the sky and fields, the perspectives on the landscape around it and of course the monumental text, which hopefully left an impression on a deeper level.

CURA.: You have often embraced text and language in your art such as in your series of outdoor wooden trunk sculptures where short words, predominantly onomatopoeias were made to read in both directions or in your wall paintings taking more comic bubble scenes as their center theme. In Nature Nothing Exists Alone you depart the playfulness of the word itself and echoe Rachel Carson’s legacy on the future of life on a much more serious note. Which relevance the expression climate crisis take in your artistic process?

CC: Climate crisis is the most pressing and most important issue of our times today. There is not one single individual or person on earth that is not affected in some sort by it. It becomes the most important subject for me to speak about within my work. As a majority of climate scientists and activists are repeating over and over, the next five to ten years will dictate the future of humanity and our planet and even though this sounds like a sci-fi movie plot it is true, doomsday is impending. Even though we are speaking about the crisis more and more, I’m still shocked by the way politicians and big corporations are so numb and lack any empathy towards all the problem the climate crisis is posing for the planet. Everyone has a role to play in this and I’m trying to play my role through my work.

In Nature Nothing Exists Alone
CURA. for Hypermaremma
curated by Ilaria Marotta / Andrea Baccin

Fattoria Stendardi
Pescia Fiorentina (GR)

Coordinates: 42.444325688033935, 11.483801793521526
Patronage: Comune di Capalbio, Istituto Svizzero, Touring Club Italiano and RAI Toscana
Supported by: Fattoria Stendardi, Giorgio Stefanelli

Courtesy: the artist
Photo: Giorgio Benni and Daniele Molajoli

Claudia Comte was born in Grancy, Switzerland, in 1983. She works with different media, often combining sculptures or installations – her main body of work – with wall paintings, videos, and performances, thus creating environments where works relate to each other with a visual rhythm that is both methodical and playful. Elements such as forests, video games, comic books and sci-fi films have contributed to the creation of a language filled with real and imaginary references. Her work is defined by her fascination with the memory of materials and a keen observation of the relationship between humans and technology.
Comte was the winner of the Swiss Art Award in 2014 and the Kiefer Hablitzel Award in 2012.