Nina Wiesnagrotzki – Corner Case @ Limbo, Berlin

The herbaceous perennial Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon, Drachenwurz) changes sex from year to year depending on age and ecological factors like weather. Viewed from the side, its highly-dissected main leaf fanned out in a semicircle and its second central leaflet, positioned slightly lower, seem to represent the wings and head of a dragon. The natural scientist Carl Linnaeus, who created a herbarium for taxonomic purposes with countless dried plants on loose sheets of paper, gave the Arisaema dracontium its name referring to the mythological being. In contrast to the dragon, a mythical creature often issued with an animated subject status, the plant seems to be entrenched in the ground, inert and mute. In order to render it accessible to a language of classification, it was torn out from its rooting and natural environment. In a herbarium, temporality is thus suspended while a dubious claim for realism identifies the single plant specimen as its norm. Today, we extract genetic material and valuable minerals from these plants, which also serve as records of climate change. Parallel to the bioethical discourse on the sentience of plants, the debate on the financialization of so-called ecosystem services such as natural water filtration is currently accelerating. Here an ever-expanding dimension of the exploitation of natural resources under the logic of capitalism is looming.

The serial drawings of the Arisaema dracontium which Nina Wiesnagrotzki realized by applying laser-cut technique on semi-transparent standardized plastic folders reveal left-behind traces held in suspense. The plant made visible appears to be simultaneously absent and present: posing and continually moving, it faces us and turns away. If the pose effects a purpose in constituting a subject within image processes, we may here encounter constructions of subjects whose sign language we cannot (yet) decode. Our urge to decipher and comprehend is also thwarted by the irritating relation of representation, voids, and unfamiliar subjectivity. In reference to the polarity between an objective understanding of nature in Western modernity and concepts such as animism, the work aesthetically initiates an animation that suggests vitality. Not least a dynamization becomes apparent, opening the discourse of our relations to the environment for multiple perspectives, without dissolving it to one side or the other.

Installation views: Nina Wiesnagrotzki, Corner Case, series of laser-cuts on polypropylene folders, ca. 30 x 45 cm each, 2019

Selected exhibitions: A School Of Schools, 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, Istanbul, 2018; duo show with Mindy Rose Schwartz, Room E_1027 @ Center, Berlin, 2018; Berlin Art Prize, The Shelf, Berlin, 2018; 36th Arbeitsstipendium für bildende Kunst, Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, 2018; Alembic Growl, duo show with Maximilian Schmoetzer, Komplot, Brussels, 2017; Marl Video Art Award, Skulpturenmuseum im Glaskasten Marl, Marl, 2016

The exhibition Corner Case is supported by Kulturbeirat Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.

Limbo is run and curated by Viktor Hömpler.