This episode is the digital manifestation of Claudia Comte’s project “After Nature”, held in the form of an exhibition curated by Chus Martínez, at the Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid, May 11 to August 22, 2021.
The show brings together a series of sculptures carved with chainsaws commissioned by TBA21 for this event, together with a wall painting that, through graphics, shapes, technology and materials, becomes an immersive installation that encourages reflection and approach to corals. The artist found the wood from endemic species during her residency at the interdisciplinary and collaborative programme offered by TBA21–Academy and Alligator Head Foundation at their space in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Through her contact with TBA21–Academy, and with a passion about researching the Oceans, Comte understood corals as complex beings that play a key role in the production of the Earth’s oxygen, their extinction having a deep impact on planetary life. The exhibition was activated on July 1, 2021, with a performance of the artist entitled The Day that Wood and Matter Wanted to Become Salt Water choreographed in collaboration with artist and dancer Cecilia Bengolea and music by Egon Elliut.
Reef Soliloquy is the video that serves as introduction for the exhibition. Giving an infantile voice to the reef, this underwater monologue emphasizes the defining duplicity of corals, who are hermaphroditic and non-binary beings, but who at the same time depend on a larger binarism the sun and the moon, as well as by these two extreme’s mystic intersection—the eclipse. This coraline discourse claims against the harms of humans, juxtaposing footage of luscious myriads of polyps with the installation of Claudia Comte’s underwater cacti on the seabed of Port Antonio, together with the production of the wooden corals, a point of union of earth and water.