Grounded in drawing and animation, Eline McGeorge has spent two decades making work around ideas of alienation and alternative realities. On Joined Flight Lines brings together works from 2015 with new fabric pieces and a series of pencil drawings.
For McGeorge a sense of care, justice, empathy and inclusion is a core concern and extends to all forms of life with whom we not only share space but rely upon to maintain life on earth. McGeorge finds inspiration in sources spanning art historical figures such as Agnes Martin, science fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin, the theorist Donna Haraway, and Japanese permaculture pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka.
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Companion Species, Emergency Weave, 2015, consists of emergency blankets interwoven with pixelated images of figures and vegetation printed on paper. Roots and a tree occupy the middle of the work surrounded by figures, such as the threatened yellow jackal. The pixelated pattern and the shimmering of the emergency blanket both dissolve and highlight the figures. Contours disappear as you approach the surface, mirroring the perishing of the species represented in the work. The emergency blanket highlights the crisis of this situation.
The floor-based piece 2000 Seed Capsules, 2015, takes inspiration from Masanobu Fukuoka and his book One straw revolution from 1978. Working together with a Norwegian plant sociologist, McGeorge has collected seeds that enhance biodiversity and soil quality. The capsules consist of seeds and nutrition components packed into a small ball of soil and clay. The capsules differ slightly in colour, from a chalky white to a darker clay grey. Installed on the floor the dots are spread out to form an abstract pattern.
The pixels in the weave and the seed balls share the visual character trait of the ‘Biomat’, a character appropriated from a Norwegian science fiction series from the 1970s called Blindpassasjer, (Stowaway/Free Rider). The Biomat is a shapeshifter figure made up of programmable molecules, which can dissolve and come together as a cloud of pixels, that takes the shape of a human figure here. In the Norwegian series, the Biomat enters a Norwegian starship exploring a newly discovered red planet. On this planet, the Biomat is a guardian of Nature and portrayed as an obstacle and enemy to the crew of the ship. A struggle follows, and the Biomat is finally destroyed leading to a happy ending. To McGeorge, the Biomat embodies the conflict that exists between humans and the rest of the natural world, an omnipresent paradox – where something or someone protecting nature can be perceived as a threat to human interests.
In a series of new pencil drawings Biomatic notes 1-12 / On Joined Flight Lines, 2018, fine lines or dots form cloud or swarm-like shapes hinting at the emergence of new biomatic figures. Here, some of the figures are hybrids; part human, part machine; or part human, and part animal; suggesting a multi-species being.
In On Joined Flight Lines, 2018, McGeorge has used watercolour on fabric for the first time, involving a process of tearing apart and stitching back together, an act of destroying and mending – of restitution for the figures of extinct animals and plants painted and commemorated on the fabric. In No(1) of this series, textures and traces of stitches and threads share the surface with various figures that belong to an ongoing history of extinction. A biomatic figure is camouflaged in a pattern that reoccurs in the textile works, a pattern of an eggshell belonging to a seabird under threat due to the thinning of its shell as a result of environmental toxins.
Eline McGeroge (b.1970) lives and works in Oslo and London. She has exhibited at Oslo Kunstforening(solo); Stavanger Kunsthalle, Oslo Kunstnerforbund, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona, .Museum of Contemporary Art, Banja Luka, Bosnia; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway; Fotogalleriet, Oslo (solo); 27 Senses, Chisenhale Gallery, London, Kube Art Museum, Ålesund, Norway. Momentum Biennalen of Nordic Art, Moss, Norway She has premiered her animation and montage videos as installations in 65th International Berlin Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Akadamie der Künste, Berlin; and 62nd International Berlin Film Festival, 42nd International Forum of New Cinema, Critique and Clinic, Kunstsaele Berlin. Film screenings: Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai.