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2023-08-09 10:48:32

Frame of the multimedia project

Belen Millan

the blue thistle is a multimedia project by Belén Millán that is part of the exhibition Stories of Postnature. This exhibition includes installations by artists Bonny Leibowitz, Randy Jayne Rosenberg, and Belén Millán herself. It has been curated by Art Works for Change ( within the framework of the well-known event UPAW (Upstate Art Weekend), throughout the summer of 2023, in Tivoli, New York.

Belén Millán’s project delves into the development of her recent artistic reflections on the impact of human intrusion on nature and the alteration of basic categories of reality and the artificiality that this entails.

Millán starts from the borriquero thistle, one of the most abundant and ubiquitous natural species in the Andalusian countryside, to show its artificial affectation due to the intrusion of plastic into the environment and its subsequent transit as garbage hundreds of kilometers out to sea, to underwater ecosystems that they are foreign to him.

The fictional and artistic transfiguration of the blue thistle as a mutant and invasive species that ends up conquering our coasts creates the story of a post-nature similar to our cultural, aesthetic and economic canons that rebels against humanity.

Frame of the multimedia project

The Belén Millán project consists of two facilities that recreate two ecosystems, one terrestrial and the other underwater. In the first, natural thistles trapped in a bird net face artificial ones 3D printed in plastic, held in a metal tangle. Natural and artificial thistles are mixed and confused with each other as a symbol of a nature faced with its own artificiality.

The video installation shows an underwater ecosystem transmuted by a plasticizing process that we cannot see. Only 15% of the 13 million tons of plastic that is deposited in seas and oceans each year floats, turned into terrifying islands. The rest stays under the sea. The transformation of these underwater marine ecosystems is the central axis of said video-installation.

A metallic structure mylar, shaken by fans and illuminated with LED material, offers an immersive experience under the bottom of a sea full of species in the plasticization process. Through reflections on the ceiling, floor and walls, three video-creations narrate the mutation process of the thistle that ends up returning as an invasive species to our shores.

The three video-creations have been recorded in Andalusia, between Casabermeja in Malaga, Punta de la Mona in Granada and Cabo de Gata in Almería. The Danish group Between Music has performed and recorded the music of the Blue Thistle underwater. María Cerezo (Epoxidonia) has made the underwater recordings. Post-production has been carried out by Lourdes Molina and David Salgado.

Frame of the multimedia project

About the UPAW New York 2023 event:

UPAW New York is an annual summer event celebrating the cultural richness of New York State. This year more than 100 organizations from the ten counties of the state have participated. Participants are arts organizations, galleries, museums, and private and public entities related to the art world in New York State. UPAW publications are found in the New York Times, Artnet News, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, Chronogram, Cool Hunting and Whitewall among others.

About the organization he has curated Stories of the PostnaturalArt Works for Change: is a California-based non-profit organization that creates contemporary art exhibitions around the world to address critical social and environmental issues. Its purpose is to harness the transformative power of art to promote awareness, spark dialogue and inspire action. He has taken two exhibitions to the Canal de Isabel II Foundation in Madrid in Spain: Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art in 2009 and The Missing Peace: Artists consider the Dalai Lama in 2013, bringing together artists of the stature of Marina Abramovic , Louise Bourgeois, Wangechi Mutu, El Anatsui, Cecilia Paredes, Yoko Ono, among many others.

About the exhibition Stories of the Postnatural:

The exhibition brings together the works of the three artists to give rise to a reflection on ecosystems in constant movement. In a world in which plastics, toxic materials and other human detritus have become part of the landscape and are integrated into living beings, the idea of ​​Nature as something determined and differentiated from the artificial or the cultural no longer exists. .

In this exhibition, multimedia interventions and installations (including painting, photography, video, and assemblage) turn the exhibition area into a post-natural microcosm that questions categories and definitions that are difficult to sustain or no longer valid today.

About the artist:

Belén Millán is a Spanish and American multimedia artist who lives and works between Malaga and New York. The climate crisis and its extreme consequences moved her from her studio abroad, where she creates bold installations that she documents in photography and video, fusing organic and industrial waste, blurring the boundaries between categories and media, the natural and the man-made. .

His latest work includes installations for the Umbrella Arts Center, Concord, MA, M David in Bushwick, Brooklyn, or the La Concepción Botanical Garden in Malaga. He has received the ExAequo award in the category of video-creation by the Ateneo-Universidad de Málaga 2022 with his work Plastic Plasma on the intrusion of plastic into the blood flow.

His work can be seen at:
IG @belenmillanabstractions


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