‘Swan Lake’, 2018
Photomontage, 75 x 59 cm (framed)
Mandeep Dillon, is interested in the dichotomy posed by a world whose future seems increasingly locked
on a trajectory which is accelerating towards climate breakdown and species loss, whilst at the same time
pursuing economic growth. Dillon express this by working across a range of disciplines including video
installation, photography, collage and sculpture.
We are currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, predicted by scientists to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This event is likely to be mankind’s lasting legacy and necessitates a need to rethink our relationship with the non-human world. The free nature: water, land and other species that we have capitalised on for food and resources since we became human is now coming to an end. Mandeep's work is a commentary on the contradictions posed by our predicament. On the one hand, we are increasingly aware of the consequences of our actions and the resulting changes manifesting themselves through melting ice, vanishing habitats and pollution. Yet, we can also see that these changes are linked to our very existence on the planet. Humans clearly need nature, but nature, it seems, does not need humans.
About the work:
I am interested in how certain creatures, particularly the chicken, have become ‘de-animalised’ and nothing more than a unit of production, a thing to be traded and no different from an inanimate widget. When I see images of caged hens, I see them as an extreme manifestation of our fractured relationship with nature. In this photomontage all the hens face a central aisle, and not dissimilar to a theatre or an auditorium. Thinking of the sorrow of Swan Lake, I decided that the dying swan, Odette, was an apt addition to the scene: with the pathos of the dancer comes the sublime, which emphasises
the misery of the conditions in which the hens live and a metaphor of our relationship with nature.
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