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Salzkammergut 2024, Windows and Mosaic of Leaves

Salzammergut 2024, Solastalgia Salzammergut 2024, Solastalgia Photo by Grace Ellen Barkey

As part of the Capital of Culture 2024, the artist Grace Ellen Barkey is showing the installations "Solastalgia" at the Landungsplatz Ebensee railway station and "Windows and Mosaic of Leaves" at the Kalvarienbergkirche Gosau.

In “Windows and Mosaic of Leaves”, Barkey meditates on nature and its transience. The church windows are covered with a photo collage of plants and flowers. Only at second glance does it become clear that the plants depicted are in a state of decay. The focus on these flowers and plants sharpens our perception. In contrast, the floor will be covered with a mosaic of collected, dried leaves.

Duration: 21 May 2024 - 20 June 2024

About the project
Grace Ellen Barkey collects, films and photographs flowers and leaves from her immediate surroundings. Her most recent installations explore the transposition of a space into a narrowness, inviting the viewer to become part of the sensory work. 

During a visit to Salzkammergut, Barkey learned about how climate change affects the area. This inspired her to make ‘Solastalgia’, for which she uses a series of videos she had shot of a lonely tree near a building site. The tree was beautiful, but the leaves were plastic waste from the construction site. Barkey imagines a world without nature, creating a poetic garden with a terrible prophesy that transforms the space into a dystopic garden.

In ‘Windows and Mosaic of Leaves’ Barkey meditates on nature and its impermanence. The church windows are covered with a photo collage of plants and flowers. Only at a second glance does it become apparent that the plants depicted are in a state of decay. Concentrating on these flowers and plants heightens our perception. In contrast, the floor will be covered with a mosaic of collected dried leaves.

About Grace Ellen Barkey
Artist, choreographer and performer Grace Ellen Barkey was born in Surabaya (Indonesia). Barkey lives and works in Brussels and is co-founder of the artists’ company Needcompany (1986). Her work lies on the border between theatre, dance, performance and visual art. ‘To me, absurdity is the only reality’ was Frank Zappa’s motto, and it is also the common ground running through Barkey’s absurd, performative work.

She steadily adds to her visual oeuvre. Her most recent installations relay a stillness. An internalisation. ‘Things left unsaid, things not revealed, are expressed in the absurd but also in the mystic’, says Grace Ellen Barkey. Both the frantic imagination and the stillness are attempts to express the unspeakable. In these installations, the spectator’s senses are not overfed and overstimulated with absurd, grotesque and surreal images between which the connection is unclear with rationale alone. The starting point of her installations is Grace Ellen Barkey’s personal connection with nature and its impermanence. In 2021, she decolonised her name and adopted the name of her grandmother, Grace Tjang. In doing so, she allows another history to resonate in her own identity as an artist. 

Her visual work has recently been exhibited among others: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam), Poortersloge (Bruges), CC Strombeek, UZ Jette and Coup de Ville (Sint-Niklaas), M HKA (Antwerp), mumok (Vienna), Berliner Festspiele (Berlin), EcoC24 (Salzkammergut),… 

Grace Ellen Barkey was one half of the artistic duo Lemm&Barkey, together with Lot Lemm. Their work has been exhibited at several museums including BOZAR (Brussels), Benaki Museum (Athens), Musée des Arts décoratifs (Paris), CC Strombeek, Dr. Guislain museum (Gent), Triënnale Hasselt / Superbodies i.a.

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.