Commissariat / Curatorial                                           Text(e)s             

Living Fossils 

Paper Trail: Environments, Lonsdale Gallery
January 12 - February 22, 2019

SHOW.19, Idea Exchange
May 10 - June 29, 2019

In Living Fossils, precarious paper objects inspired by architectural prototypes of the 20th century (more specifically inter-, post-war, and retro-futuristic constructions) are paired with clay renderings of facsimile fossils.

The series seeks to expose how urban planning and architecture — during this period ridden with residual anxieties — took formal, structural, and material cues from the protective shells of mollusks. Several engineers such as Heinz Isler celebrated the natural designs and built-in defense mechanisms of mollusk shells,  which inspired their own work. Yet, shells and fossils are the relics of a synchronic affinity between living organisms and their immediate environment; these architectures, on the other hand, often overlooked their own integration into local surroundings, and instead aimed to embody propositions — premised on fear —  for a future that remained unpredictable.

This series throws into relief the dissonances in fast-proliferating urban environments and architectures of seclusion (bunkers, fortresses, micro-utopias, etc.). Meanwhile, the relationship between the soft animal and its self-generating shelter becomes a potent analogy through which considerations of sustainability and (self) preservation may begin to take shape. Looking forward, how can we take example from these mollusks who build their shells, little by little, to the rhythms of the tides, across deep time? How can we imagine the fossils and ruins of our own epoch, from a future perspective?

Screenprints on paper, 22 x 30 inches each
Double-sided text, printed by Vide Press, edition of 60
2018 - 2019


Laura Demers 2024