People walking on Inferno Crater, 2006
MASLEN & MEHRA – is a name of two people art collective made out of names of the duo –Tim Maslen and Jennifer Mehra. This pair analyzes topical problem of our age – relationship between nature and urban world. To a person from the modern world who got used to see animals and nature at the zoo, in TV screen or on the covers of magazines, wild untouched nature becomes separate, long forgotten world.
Artists with a help of film cameras and installation technique, creates episodes for spectators. It makes you wonder, makes you stop just for a second and look into what maybe we could have today in our environment – amazing views, various animal species still participating in our life and harmony, which was part of our being a long time ago.
Some time ago developed space belonged not only to us
From a first sight this technique can seem to be weird and not entirely understandable. Sculptures that we can see in pictures are covered in mirror-like surface. Applied to the right location, not only those sculptures become part of that place, but it reflects surrounding details and colors. These sculptures sometimes are left like this in city spaces. Besides creating these installations artists photograph them with a film camera. When seeing these works for a first time one’s eyes, which are used to digital photography and Photoshop tricks, can be misguided.
Malsen and Mahera exhibit their works not only in urban spaces, but also in art galleries. Here, their chosen technique is also surprising. Most often pair of artists isn’t hanging their photos on the walls as it is usual, but they are filling gallery space with huge screens.
XXI century mirrors screen installation in London gallery
People extracted from urban space are placed in wild nature: skateboarder finds himself in bushy vest Australia, fashion model proudly pose in volcanic beach in New Zealand and business man talking to cell phone sprouts in the desert of Mojave. Artists are confronting mundane sights and habits of our life with nature. It shows us how detached our world, our surroundings and nature became.
Lynx in streets of Berlin, 2007
There are two projects of Maslen and Mehra that attracted most attention. First one – when person is extracted from his urban space and moved to most beautiful corners of nature; second one – when often already extinct or animals existing only in zoos are intruding our messy environment, reminding us that some time ago it belonged to them.
Tim Maslen was born in Sydney, Australia and Jennifer Mehra is from London. They both studied arts; later took part in collective exhibitions and finally in 1999 they met. Some time passed and they were invited to do a project during which they had to do an art show during Olympic Games. After this project this pair who usually spent time traveling the world together, spent most of their time in streets of London.
It is nice to see that there are such artists and works which raises questions about our civilization and which reminds about its roots. It also helps to pause, even if it’s only for a second, to think about future of our environment and its continuity.