turf

2011

video, 5,07 min, with sound

“Turf“ is a work about the relationship between the self, nature and ritual. The city dweller traverses the urban frenzy, trapped by repetition, caught up in the mundane, missing something existential: the vital depth, the experience of being part of nature, which other cultures offer, for example, through initiation rituals. “Turf” is Irene Schueller’s substitute initiation. Her material is turf, a piece of fabricated nature, with which she confronts herself and the urban space. The video shows, in time lapse, the artist spreading turf on the pavement and sewing it together in swatches with needle and thread, further indicating its ersatz quality. She crawls under the turf and disappears into the earth, an experience that is haunting, even as the setting is comical. One senses the smell of the soil, as well as the proximity of the worms and insects and the heaviness of the turf. Finally, the artist emerges, arises, and exits, without external transformation, but with newfound knowledge.

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