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January 10 - February 2, 2001

Exhibition at "Artefakt" Gallery
Palais Ferstel
A-1010 Vienna

The tropical rainforest and indigenous people are a leitmotiv of the artist Sylvie Proidl and also the fundamental idea behind this installation. The juxtaposition between objects in light and shade hinges on two key aspects - the threats that humans impose on the rainforest and the dangers that the forest holds for its human inhabitants. In the present light installation, the artist places particular emphasis on the fact that, in the shadowed light, the various dangers to the humans fade away, leaving fragile, naked individuals in the rainforest habitat. The specially designed and constructed "shadow machine" moves in a slow ellipse across the erect transparent stelas; it selects a new view with every passing and defines a particular spot for each successive one-minute pause. On the opposite wall, a large-format painting in pastel tones shows a picturesque landscape. Upon closer examination, however, the viewer is confronted with the fragmented shadows of a clear-cut rainforest, an effect achieved by outlines of phantom trees traced in white on three delicate, translucent veils. The broad red-earth road serves as a symbol for human intervention and the persistent destruction by humankind. The destroyed primary forest can never be replaced. The display cases are devoted to two important components of the intact ecosystem: insects to illustrate the incredible biodiversity, and tropical rain as the defining physical factor. Three works from the XIBALBA series formulate the concluding message: Death, as a merry dancer and in the form of friendly smiling skulls, shows the path and reveals the ultimate fate.



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