In William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’, written in 1599, the play’s protagonist Rosalind takes refuge in the Forest of Arden where she hopes to find safety and perhaps love. This interest in the sublime magnanimity of nature is also generously embodied in the curiosity and empathy of artists. Over the years they have taken Mother Nature as their subject, always with a concern to show how fertile the theme can be when it dialogues with other human sciences; generating a rich panorama that stretches throughout the history of the visual arts, from the art of prehistoric times to contemporary creation.
Presently, it may seem as though we are continuously confronted with worrying situations that endanger our planet and its fragile ecologies. At a time when climate change is causing unexpected catastrophes around the world, the value of nature should not be underestimated. In spite of the skeptical reaction of certain public figures, and the U-turns of political leaders concerning the protection of the environment, truly understanding nature provides a sort of imaginary antidote to our condition. It evokes a consciousness of a world before us, opening a field of possibilities and fantasies of which — whether expressed in poetry or prose — we have never tired of exploring.
‘As You Like It – C’est Comme Vous Voulez’ brings together a diverse group of artists that address themes of nature in their work, both as a boundless supplier of forms and as a model of the creative act itself.
Featuring works by: Doug Aitken, Pierre Ardouvin, Whitney Bedford, Matthew Brandt, Matthew Chambers, Thibaut Duchenne, Kirsten Everberg, Francesca Gabbiani, Charles Gaines, Dwyer Kilcollin, Kim Mccarty, Adrien Missika, Catherine Opie, Tia Pulitzer, Neil Raitt, Jim Shaw, Jennifer Steinkamp, Cole Sternberg, Kerry Tribe, Marnie Weber, James Welling, Paul Winstanley, Guy Yanai.