Currently open at Focus Magazine is The Truth About Trees, another thought provoking exhibition by Milena Carbone. It offers something of a multi-media installation, combining images and text (accessed via links to web pages), bound together by themes of life, ecology, harmony, and nature, and carries a vein of religious metaphor.
There is a path through the exhibition that starts to the right of the entrance beyond the window with a text element, and then proceeds counter-clockwise around the walls to the exit. The opening text is that of a dialogue Milena had with a friend in Australia who witnessed the 2019 brushfire there first-hand. It serves not just as a reminder of those events, but also that the Australian brush is a part of nature; a living environment in which we either share or seek – for better or more often for worse – try to dominate.
From here the story unfolds as pairings of image and a link to a story element, each to be taken in turn. It’s a story that mixes fable, the story of creation, the balance of nature. Folded into this are cosmic themes such as our place in the universe, raised through a story around ʻOumuamua, the first known interstellar object to have been detected passing through our solar system.
It’s a story that enfolds the images presented in the exhibition and reaches beyond them to pictures also found in the web pages of individual stories. In part it follows themes those who know Milena’s work will find as being familiar: questions about God, he nature of God’s existence the aforementioned issues of ecology, nature and harmony. However, these themes are not just presented through the stories – or perhaps mythology might be a better term – but also through the setting of the exhibition itself.
The latter appears as a walled garden with a central apple tree surrounded by police crime scene tape. The metaphor here is clear: the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge, the transgression against God’s will in the taking of the Apple and the fall of human kind from grace.
But here as well the metaphor in deeper than may first appear: were we really created in God’s image? If so, then were we not as flawed as God from the outset? If so, then was the crime committed by Adam and Eve not so much the eating of the apple against God’s orders, but rather God’s own failure in not making us better than just imbuing us with “his” own frailties; frailties that have prevented us living in the kind of natural harmony that has marked the rest of his creation?
Involved, rich in detail, theme and substance, The Truth About Trees will remain open through the rest of the month.
- The Truth About Trees (Desert Shores, rated: Adult)