"I Wish Your Wish, 2003, is based on a tradition at a church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where the faithful tie silk ribbons to their wrists and to the gates of the church; and, according to tradition, their wishes are granted when the ribbons wear away and fall off. At IMMA hundreds of similar ribbons are printed with visitors’ wishes from Neuenschwander’s past projects exhibited elsewhere. Visitors are invited to remove a ribbon from the wall and tie it around their wrist. According to Brazilian tradition, the wish is granted when the ribbon wears away and falls off. In exchange, the artist asks you to write your wish on the paper available and insert it in the ribbon hole. The artist collects your wishes and some are added to the work when next the piece is exhibited again.”
In GlobosRivane Neuenschwander installs 250 spheres in different sizes and various materials to represent the world’s countries. The artist removed all logos and printing with adhesive tape and paint, thereby evoking associations between the spheres and the national flag of a country. The visitors can manipulate the spheres and reinvent the cartography of the world at their whim, which also occurs through the random movement of the balls spread on the floor.
Vinylic paint, adhesive tape on 240 balls - Dimensions variable
Hundreds of ants industriously eat away at a map of the world in Rivane Neuenschwander’s video work, Contingent (2008) (below). Made of honey, the map slowly disintegrates into nothingness as the formidable continents shrink into smaller islands- mere specks of their former grandeur. This insect frenzy is a metaphor for the poignant and fraught relationship between consumption and the environment; it queries the consumptive habits of humankind and the detrimental consequences such consumption wreaks upon the natural world. While nourishment for ants is a necessity, the reasons for our environmental extortion might not always be deemed essential.
Part of The World Over, a group exhibition curated by Scott McLeod currently on view at Prefix Institute of Contemporary art in Toronto, Neuenscheander’s video thematically links the first work seen upon entering the exhibit, Cuban artist Glenda León’s photograph Between Air and Dreams (2003), with Donna Conlon’s video and photographs of ants, installed in the main space of the gallery. León’s work comprises an image of clouds, assembled into a map of the world while Conlon’s series Coexistence (2003/2008) depicts leaf-cutter ants carrying near-microscopic pieces of various national flags. León’s cloud continents, those fickle and ever changing bits of the atmosphere, speak to Earth’s future as contingent rather than immutable while the harsh borders of nationality are imagined as collapsed, again by the industry of ants, in Conlon’s film and photographs. In all cases, nature reigns supreme while the constructed borders humankind ironically fall prey to the whims of the natural.
These and other works on view in The World Over at Prefix Institute of Contemporary art in Toronto from May 2 through June 22, 2013.
Yanagi filled a series of interconnecting Perspex boxes with coloured sand to represent the flags of 49 nations. These include nations bordering the Pacific, former colonial powers, and native populations without sovereign territories such as the Maoris and Aborigines. He then released thousands of ants, whose movement distributed the sand from one flag to another. Suggestive of patterns of global migration, the ants gradually eroded the borders between different nations, creating new designs. ‘I question the concept of a nation’, Yanagi has said. ‘A nation, its border and national flag, has become an imaginary fiction.’