We are used to thinking about a book as something thick, solid, with a cover, etc. Meanwhile, a number publications on the market break the rigid framework, the newspaper format being one of them. By assumption, a newspaper is lighter and less obliging than the “serious book.” Ewa Behrens chose the latter form, and quite rightly so. Her publication does not round off her project, but merely closes one of its stages.
What is the “alien non-invasive species”? They are the plants we keep at home. We have already forgotten that most of them come from exotic countries and take it for granted that they can be bought around the corner. They have lost their appeal and become commonplace. Today, e.g. monstera deliciosa, which comes from South America, is a popular plant available at any major store.
Ewa Behrens makes us wonder about the relation between plants and us, what makes us keep them home so eagerly. She does this in an unpretentious and a thoroughly modern way. The plants in her pictures are lit by strong light and are usually isolated from the background. The artist puts together colour and black-and-white photos, indoor and outdoor ones, details with whole plants. She shows their root system fitting the flowerpot, and dark staircases where plants are kept. Her focus is on neglected specimens.
What is most interesting in Obcy Gatunek Nieinwazyjny is that it evokes a broader reflection on where our civilisation is heading. Aren’t we trying to gain absolute control over nature? We disrespect it, take advantage of it, and then dump it, not caring about the consequences. As it seems, this is what man is – an alien highly invasive species.
Ewa Behrens: Obcy Gatunek Nieinwazyjny, 20 pages, self-published 2015
by Marcin Grabowiecki (Innocent Curiosity)