Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán’s embarked on their collaborative artistic research practice in 2011. Over the past five years, their focus has expanded to explore how human interventions can shape geopolitical narratives, as evidenced through case studies of military operations and the politics of global extraction. Taking its title from a term coined by the architectural historian David Gissen to refer to neglected elements of the natural world, the exhibition “Subnature” brings together different perspectives and technologies used in the artists’ research, with a focus on “invisible” actors.
Debrisphere. Landscape as an extension of the military imagination, 2017-, takes illustrations reminiscent to those of botanical atlases and pairs them with five architectural scale models of sites of political or military interventions that have relied upon landscaping to conceal unpleasant histories. Shifting to the micro perspective of such locations, the installation The Visible Manifestations of Invisible Forces, 2020, sets up as a quasi-laboratory, in which an embedded video surveys the ability of fungi to thrive in toxic conditions. The HD video Blue Ground, 2021, tracks the construction of one of the first custom-made diamond recovery mining vessels, which was produced in Romania. Benera and Estefán offset this achievement with Google Satellite images of the deserts of Namibia’s Orange River Basin, which has been heavily impacted by mining. Creating a similar link between the local and the global, the constantly-expanding archive Proxy climates, 2019-, comprises pollen collected from different sites across Europe that are going through desertification. For this exhibition, the artists will add new specimens from Kiskunság, an area in central Hungary. Through the constant shift between micro and macro, human and non-human, the artists aim to destabilize our anthropocentric perspective and to direct our attention to the unsung elements surrounding us.