Modern Societies I (Series)
April 06, 2021
Chromogenic print

Chromogenic prints, 57 x 47". Series of twenty-four images. 2020– ongoing

Modern Societies I (Series)

Modern Societies is an ongoing trilogy of time based works and corresponding large format photographs that depict sculptures made from commoditized ‘postnatural’ materials —flour, gelatin, and graphite— to explore the relationship between the domestication of nature, biotechnology, and artistic production.

These highly engineered materials have been selected for their respective manufacturing processes and uses, which complicate their classifications as vegetal, animal, and mineral. As sculptural mediums, they operate in undisciplined ways, often pushing against the will to design. The project revisits the abject and open forms of Process Art to celebrate the manufactured materials’ agency.

The images in Modern Societies I feature sculptures made from enriched wheat (bleached wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, enzymes, folic acid), water, and salt, performing symbolically as the earliest materials used for modeling as well as manufactured elements constitutive of the contemporary staff of life.

Incorporating sculpture and photography, the project engages with still life conventions in photography and the longstanding relationship between sculpture and photographic documentation (or, what Alina Szpocznikow referred to as 'photosculptures') as two traditions focused on themes of fixity, ephemerality, economy, and time. Yet reimagined through a 21st century material vernacular, the suite of works asks viewers to consider, in politicized terms, how processes of modernization have complicated and transformed these concepts, as well as what we perceive as natural today.