The Sixth Extinction (Ceres)
The Sixth Extinction (Ceres) 2015
A figurative sculpture representing the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, and fertility is displayed inside a glass case. This goddess was worshipped as Demeter in Greek and Ceres in Roman religion. Cast in a mixture of plaster and a nutrient solution imbued with microorganisms, colonies of lush and delicate fungi and mold colonize the statue decomposing it during the course of the exhibition. The sculpture is in a continuous process of change as the nutrients are transformed into living biomass. The deity´s body with its classical proportion succumbs to the seemingly chaotic natural process of nutrient cycling. According to antique mythology, Ceres embodies both the aspects of life and death- the awakening of life in nature as well the breakdown and decay of organic matter, and thus the entire cycle of life. Offering a basis for sustenance, and thus allowing growth and proliferation, the sculpture of Ceres is broken down and re-organized by the microorganisms.
Fertility, or nature’s ability to sustain itself, has been an important object of adoration until today. For modern urbanites, fertility sculptures have lost their significance, as we continually lose our connection to the sustaining force of nature as well as to our food. Carrying out important destructive natural processes, highlighted by The Sixth Distinction (Ceres), fungi and mycorrhiza play a very important role in our food security as they enable the nutrient cycling in soils.
The title The Sixth Extinction (Ceres) refers to the concept of Holocene extinction, describing the disappearance of species, caused by the human impact on the environment in our present epoch of the Anthropocene.