Objects help us define ourselves, give us a sense of connection to culture and add value to our life. But once abandoned, things lose their meaning and value.
In November 2018, a fire near Los Angeles destroyed 96,000 acres of land and over 1,600 structures. Shortly after, when walking the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, I discovered a gorge with a deposit of abandoned household items. There was no house anywhere near and no evidence of anyone having lived nearby. These artifacts, exposed by fire, gave an eerie feel of abandonment to the site.
The objects have been laying there for quite some time and only became exposed by the fire. The site was charred and resembled an archaeological excavation – like a research abandoned during the process of archiving. Hundreds of items were arranged by material and by function, many were decorated with forms of leafs, flowers, birds and butterflies. As new growth reclaimed the site, the borrowed and stylized motifs of the objects created a wild display of art imitating nature, as well as a failed attempt in domesticating the strong will of nature. These objects maybe once occupied a space and their presence gave a house a feeling of the “familiar”. Perhaps they were gifts or heirlooms and meant much more than pure decoration. In the context of home, this site was a house inside out.
Over an eleven month period, I recorded the seasons of this particular canyon, from the extinguished wildfire, to flooding, regrowth, to the decay into winter. The series “Nature Morte” is a journal as well as an appeal to nature.