Janaina Tschäpe, Aquatica


“My project explores the boundaries between fiction and landscape, establishing a connection between the geological and biological habitat of the Galapagos and the space of inventive imagination.   Through imagery, drawings and video I question the laws of nature, recording my desire to alter them.  Referencing organic forms, the works diverge from scientific reality, merging conscious and unconscious memories.  They are a territory of growth and manipulation, where human intervention entwines with the natural.  By combining elements found in the natural world with fabricated costumes and props, blending words and languages, I develop my own fictitious botanical nomenclature.
In order for these constructed environments to become a reality, I lived in a state of flexibility.  As the islands are subject to many legal regulations (in order to preserve their unique habitat) I had to find appropriate ways to insert myself into their life.  With the help of everyone who was onboard the M/Y Dardanella, I was able to create costumes on site, as I went on tours to explore the island.  My boat mates quickly became my muses.  It was part of the experience, living moment to moment in the spontaneity of the islands’ natural habitat. Bringing fiction to nature.
I extended the experience of creating with minimal resources to populate the surroundings with vegetation that I shaped with a simple mixture of salt, flour and water. These surreal sculptural forms appear to be new growths with magical or perhaps even invasive origins.   My images and drawings are a documentation of newly discovered species, tiny hybrid creatures that might be found by an explorer. Through fabricated creatures and artificial vegetation, I enhanced existing botanical environments by taking them into the realm of dream and fantasy.”
Janaina Tschäpe
Janaina Tschäpe was Artist-in-residence during the TBA21–Academy expedition to the Galápagos Islands from July 29 to August 11, 2013. Aquatica is a multimedia project comprising videos, photographs and drawings.