Establishing relationship with non human entities
Through the years in my work I have explored my and our (as a whole) relationship with nature.
As someone that was born and raised in an industrial city, the border city of Tijuana my ties with nature were controlled within the city landscape, the other ties were from unknown lands and times that I relived through my grandparents stories of when they were young and the countless adventures at my grandparents garden and ranch or other places in the area of Tecate where we would go for walks and hikes that allowed me to see other dimensions.
My relationship with nature always felt magical. I always envisioned these moments that they,my grandparents, described so carefully when they were reliving their childhood memories.
Their vocabulary was filled with references of nature and all the beings that inhabit within. Myself being from a city didn’t fully understand all of these poetic ways of nature that overflow into language, culture and behaviour that allow oneself to find its place in the world.
Now that years have passed since I have heard those stories. I can still see some of those images in my mind. Now through my work I find myself exploring these connections that for many of us have not been part of our life because we grew up with new visions and understanding of what nature is.
How can I, we people from the cities, reconnect with nature? How can we make ourselves feel part of it again and not something that is next to us close or far away? Through my art work I investigate the hierarchies that humans have created within the natural world, the concepts that we have created to dissect and categorize to our benefit all entities that make up not just our physical world, but the whole cosmos.
Trying to deep dive into developing our abilities of communication and the establishment of meaningful reciprocal relationships with other beings, other entities. Through the practice of painting, sculpture, installation and performance and using a diversity of material from organic to inorganic and from “living to non living”. I question the limits that we have imposed on ourselves with the concepts that we have created and look for flexible ways to create new understandings and new ways of existing.
Using rocks,branches, plants, bacteria, fungi as guides, storytellers of the history of the world and the symbiotic relationships that had to be established and kept in balance for the existence of what we know as nature I explore our understandings of who we are as humans out and inside of the natural world by applying the role of the mediator and inverting it in all ways possible to me. Pushing myself to leave the concepts and comfort of what it is to be either,or.
2018 LITOS LIQUEN CECUT, Tijuana, México
2017 SEED OF PARADISE Institute of Mexican Culture ICM, Vienna Austria
2017 LET IT MULTIPLE TIMES INFINITE FOLD, KULTURDROGERIE PROJEKT Vienna Austria
2017 FLORA NATIVA EN EL PAISAJE INVADIDO, Deslave. Tijuana, B.C, México
2016 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN THE EXOTIC IS SACRED, Kunsthalle Exnergasse residency space Vienna, Austria
2013 RETROSPECTIVA , Praxis. Tijuana, B.C, México
2017 ART OMI New York U.S.A
2017 KULTURDROGERIE PROJEKT, Vienna Austria
2016 KUNSTHALLE EXNERGASSE Vienna, Austria
Interview at Art Zealous
ART FAIRS AND AUCTIONS
2020 Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego Art Auction, Artsy Platform
2020 Marcello Farabegoli Projects, Parallel Vienna, Austria
2018 SALON ACME, Mexico City
ART & SCIENCE CONFERENCES
2020 TABOO, TRANSGRESSION AND TRANSCENDENCE IN ART & SCIENCE, Vienna, Austria
2019 CONSCIOUSNESS REFRAMED, Porto, Portugal
2019 CONSCIOUSNESS REFRAMED, Porto, Portugal
2018 29 SESSIONS IN CONTEMPORARY ART , San Diego, U.S.A
2017 INSTITUTE OF MEXICAN CULTURE W/ KJ BAYSA, Vienna
2017 KULTURDROGERIE PROJEKT W/ KJ BAYSA, Vienna AUSTRIA
2017 LASER TALKS UC Santa Barbara, U.S.A
2016 OPEN STUDIOS KEX, Vienna Art Week festival, Vienna Austria
2020 CONTINUO LATIDO AMERICANO de Performance Convent de San Agustin, Antic Teatre, Barcelona · 12-14 Contemporary Vienna · Third Space, Helsinki
2020 UTOPÍA DE UNA TRANSFORMACIÓN, 12-14 Contemporary, Vienna, Austria
2020 FUCK YOU ALBEDO, Improper Walls, Vienna, Austria
2020 HOSPITALITY, Hinterland gallery, Vienna, Austria
2020 GLÜCKSRENNTAG, WUK, Vienna, Austria
2020 MAFA7, Timisoara, Romania
2019 OPEN STUDIOS, Vienna Art week
2019 IS THIS INTIMACY, Krinzinger Projekt/ Curators agenda Vienna Austria
2019 GLOBART ACADEMY, Klosternneuburg, Austria
2019 PRAISE THE LAZINESS, 12-14 GALLERY Vienna, Austria
2019 CONSCIOUSNESS REFRAMED Porto, Portugal.
2019 BIENNALE SESSIONS Biennale di Venezia 2019, Venice, Italy
2019 IBIENNALE, Honolulu, Hawai’i
2018 APPLIED MICROPERFORMATIVITY AIL, Vienna, Austria
2018 BEING HERE WITH YOU/ ESTANDO AQUI CONTIGO, Museum of Contemporary art of San Diego, U.S.A
2018 MEXI-CAIDO Naebono art studios, Japan
2018 SALON ACME, Mexico City
2017 EVENT HORIZON BOXO projects, Joshua Tree U.S.A
2017 MITHOLOGIES San Diego Art Institute, San Diego U.S.A
2017 MITHOLOGIES PERFORMANCE NIGHT, San Diego Art Institute U.S.A
2017 MITHOLOGIES San Diego Art Institute, U.S.A
2016 THE FRONT GALLERY, San Ysidro U.S.A
2016 FABRIK EXPO, Los Angeles, U.S.A
2015 REVISION GLOCAL/ GLOCAL REVIEW, CUBO, Tijuana MEXICO
2015 JOSHUA TREENIAL Joshua Tree U.S.A
2015 BOILING PROCESS 3 Mexicali Rose Mexicali MEXICO
2015 THE FRONT GALLERY San Ysidro, U.S.A
2015 BOILING PROCESS JAUS GALLERY Los Angeles, U.S.A
2014 BYOB TJINCHINA Tijuana, México
2014 BOILING PROCESS TJINCHINA, Tijuana, México
2013 PREFACIO Sala de Arte Álvaro Blancarte, Tijuana, México.
2013 ENTRE PARENTESIS GALLERY, Tijuana, México
FONCA-CONACYT, Estudios en el extranjero, Mexico
APROART 2017, Mexico
Duality also plays an important role for Paula Flores, in the context of nature. In general, she is concerned with the complexity of nature, with our knowledge or ignorance of it and our relationship to it. How is it possible, the artist wonders, that Western capitalist imperialist thought, conceived predominantly by men, has enabled a part of humanity to legitimize the exploitation of enslaved and oppressed populations and groups of people, and nature no less? Thus, Flores seeks ways to change, dismantle, and overcome these hierarchical conceptual constructs. To do so, she is studying extraordinary ways of communication between humans and other species, such as fungi, bacteria, and plants. She hopes that this could lead to a shift in the balance of power and possibly pave the way for a more balanced relationship between humans and nature that would benefit the entire planet. Specifically, Flores is interested in the duality between life and death and questions where the sharp boundary between these concepts might be found. Regarding this fundamental contrast, it should be mentioned that the famous Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, with his legendary essay “What is Life” published about seventy years ago, had pointed out the great riddles of the phenomenon of life as well as the associated principal explanatory hurdles, and at the same time had given an essential impulse to genetics. Remarkably, the current state of knowledge is still not sufficient to understand how life arose. Likewise, it is still technically impossible at present to create artificial life. Last but not least, a virus, i.e. a being which exists as such by definition between life and death, plays a generally known frightening role in the last time. Furthermore, in so-called animistic religions, for example, a personal soul is attributed to any natural object. Especially in their youth, some people today may still have the ability to feel this all-soul; some artists in particular often cultivate this ability throughout their lives. In her childhood, Flores herself was able to cherish a magical feeling concerning nature and recognized this particular effect even more intensely in the stories of her grandparents who grew up in the countryside. Flores’ will to find a way of transformation by means of explorative-artistic work, which is to break through the dual concept of life and death, seems to be particularly radical. Last but not least, she believes that through this she can attain a connection to beings that animate the universe. The core of the installation “Mediation” (2021) by Paula Flores are the three sculptures made from the mycelia of mushrooms. According to Wikipedia, in common parlance, only the visible fruiting bodies are referred to as mushrooms. The actual fungus, however, is predominantly the fine, thread-like structure (hyphae) existing mycelium in the soil or in the wood, which is mostly not perceived because of its occurrence in these opaque substrates. Fungal mycelia can grow to a size of over a square kilometer, a huge biological mass, and an old age. Mycelia are vital in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material and are the primary factor in a plant’s health, nutrient intake, and growth and fitness. Flores has been experimenting with mycelia for a long time in order to specifically grow them into compact shapes and then let them dry out, whereby in most cases this process also means the death of these living beings. The three sculptures in this installation seem somehow like prehistoric eggs, which could have come from dinosaurs or are even of extraterrestrial origin. When you take them in hand, you notice how light and fragile these filaments that have grown together are. The gold foil on which the artist places the sculptures indicates the high value of this species for our ecosystem and thus also for our human survival on earth. The black and white fur simply symbolizes the principle of duality itself, in which we humans are mostly caught. It is noteworthy that Flores also opts for an artificial material that mimics a natural one… By bringing or forcing a hidden, essential living being so radically to light, so to speak, the artist seems to want to suggest to us what a fine, immense network of hidden things, many-valued logic, quantum physical superpositions between dual principles, between thesis and antithesis, between particles and waves, matter and immaterial things can still exist.
Writter by: Marcello Farabegoli
Jill Dawsey, curator and Anthony Graham, Assistant curator.
In her sculptural installations, Paula Flores brings together found and recycled objects, both natural and synthetic, to render the indigenous flora and fauna of the San Diego/Tijuana region-a continuous landscape that is defined, divided and altered by human intervention. The installation Native Flora in the Invaded Landscape points to questions around geography and territory, and the effect of climate change on the environment. Plants such as the barrel cactus and elderberry tree are rendered in plastic and metallic materials, their natural qualities skewed by the playfulness of their neon colors. At times, these are contrasted with earthen material, such as piles of ash. Elsewhere, textiles and yarn wrap around the sculptures like vines, growing improbably and, at times, invasively. Crossing her role as an artist with that of a botanist, Flores creates landscapes that exist between the observable, biological world and the imagination.