In Tue Greenfort’s first solo exhibition in the gallery, you are invited in for a walk through the Danish landscape – a landscape in use, where the corn-yellow fields meet clear shores. The exhibition deals with the intensive cultivation of useful plants in agriculture and the effects it has on the wild nature.
The Danish landscape has been cultivated, bred and fertilized for generations in order to get as much as possible of the plant on our plate. In the fields, only monocultures are now grown – one type of crop grows in the fields at a time and is fertilized and sprayed in order to survive and dominate. This has major consequences for other plants and animal life, which is fighting against the agricultural technologies.
The exhibition is built around the harvest, with a series of cyanotypes, in focus. On each cyanotype, the outline of wild plants (weeds) is found. The plants are found at the edge of fields where the pesticides have not reached them. Several of the works show machines, formulas and technical drawings from agricultural technologies. The cyanotypes are developed by the sun’s UV light, and the outlines of the plants are fixed by means of peroxide and well water. The images are developed here during the past week’s harvest, with changing sun, rain and storm, which is why they appear both underexposed and overexposed. The works thus reflect the living conditions of many plants – lost habitat, toxins and the man-made climatic changes that we are witnessing. The sea is also under the influence of the agriculture.
Through streams and with the rain, nitrate and phosphorus flow from the cultivated fields into our seas and fjords. Algae and bottom plants, that add oxygen to the water, die, and with them the animal species that cannot manage to swim to new, more oxygen-rich places. In contrast, other animal species thrive, such as the jellyfish, which do not have the same need for oxygen. It again has new consequences for our nature, consequences which we do not necessarily know.
Nature is a major topic in contemporary conversations. The municipalities boast of being a ‘wild municipality’, the supermarket chain Rema 1000 collaborates with The Danish Society for Nature Conservation, and the restaurants refer to the sustainable farmer with the name mentioned on the menu. As in the Golden Age paintings, we like to be staged with the ‘lost’ wild nature, which then as now, was pressured by the effects of the industrialization. In the simple things we seek the spiritual and magnificent.
Greenfort exposes some of the impacts of monocultural agriculture and how we thereby indirectly favor species that will dominate our landscape and meals in the future. The exhibition is made in collaboration with Julie Tvillinggaard Bonde.
Source: Alice Folker Gallery