Woman and Nature near Extinction

The project describes the relationship between feminism and ecology, the mystical connection between woman and nature also called Eco Feminism. Woman and nature have a shared history of oppression by a patriarchal western society. Both are used and abused and cloth to extinction in a male system. 

The performance Women & Nature Near Extinction was created during the Venice Biennale 2013. 

At first glance, the term ‘tableaux vivantes’ in which the photographs by Iris Brosch are framed inevitably exhales the flavour of old paintings into which our cultural history is so safely engraved. But looking closer, we have to admit that, even in the current media-jungle, we find ourselves surrounded by living tableaux emerging on all possible platforms.

These ‘tableaux vivants’ are for Iris Brosch the “hot zone” of contemporary communication. In her photographs what interests me most are the conflicts inherent in body images and gender roles. With her living tableaux and performances in the installation „Women and nature near extinction“ Iris Brosch successfully brings back to life fey ciphers and constellations of history and society that, for ages, were frozen. The works are courageously indebted to a realm of nostalgic melancholy and to a beauty that roams the centuries in search of itself.

In her photographs - where women are depicted as saints, madonnas or tragic heroines - the beauty of ideal female virtue is fortified by the immediate natural beauty of her models, whose personality and charm are capable of not only reviving their mythological origins but also to engender new interpretations.

 Her theatrical productions are nourished and pervaded by a late-romantic sentimentality. Long exposure times and the resulting blur effects, obliterate both the details of models and transient character of time, whilst revealing their true essence, and let their individual beauty come to the fore. In the immediate presence of the figures, who seem to emerge from an undefined dark background in guise of virtue there is a fleeting eroticism. The ambivalence provoked by the idealistic and sacred depictions of Virgin Mary dressed in earthly sensuality creates an urgent and soulful radiance.

 In „Women and nature near extinction“ Iris Brosch approaches her beauties and assumed beauties so closely that sometimes barely a piece of skin remains visible. Her photographs approach thus the fragility of illusion and shallowness of classical composition. Throughout her works, Brosch looks for the explosive moment. Her works are no light fare, they are controversial and invite the spectator to actively take a position, to think and reason further, not-withstanding feminism, violence, war and morality.

 The deliberately provocative depictions of sexuality are part of the plan to unmask a system of values that are perceived as hypocritical and wrong and to replace them with a sober and poetic feminism. „Women and nature near extinction“ is an art-project which places the female body and nature into focus and tells us in a singular way of longing and anger, aggression and tolerance, but also of perception and repression. The viewer enters a journey into the unknown.

This journey demonstrates that in our 21st Century a critical perception of nature and art cannot easily be distinguished. Brosch’s video- and photographic works create an alliance of art and ecology; the latter being widely regarded as the most significant science of our time. By means of specific lines of sight Brosch’s artistic work epitomizes the unity of femininity and nature and identifies that our relation to nature has turned troublesome. In the post-romantic age sometimes both nature and femininity appear as severely threatened and it is thanks to projects like “Women and nature near extinction” that our eyes are opened and minds challenged to reconsider and reprove.

Text by: Manon Bursian