Axis Mundi – Dagmar Šubrtová

  • Installation

Metals, coal, silicon, salts and similar crystalline raw materials have served us so far as means of development and progress. Today, silicon processor cores unprecedentedly drive almost all the world’s computer systems. However, the general euphoria about the endless possibilities of continuous development is fading. Concerns about exceeding the sustainability horizon are real. Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that the exponentially growing powerful systems are communicating more with each other than with those of us who created them.

The Axis Mundi installation is a materialised reflection on the interconnectedness of energy resources across time and space. The array of crystals created from recycled materials suggests a constellation of the primordial structures contained in the minerals that are at the core of human civilization’s ascent.

The Axis Mundi or Axis of the World is a mythical term used by ancient civilizations to describe the most sacred places of their religions and cultures. The Axis Mundi symbolically connects several spheres of the world – the underworld, the earthly and the heavenly spheres. The axis can be a tree, a rope, a mountain or a tower. Through the axis, energy flowed between gods and humans, through which the light of order entered the human world of chaos through a variety of rituals. Will our Axis Mundi of today be controlled by processors? Where exactly does our Axis lie today? Is it not already part of our digitized worlds?

Environmental sustainability is not just a theoretical or artistic theme of this installation. Through recycled materials, the artist suggests ways of possibly sustaining the ecosystem of life as a counterbalance to the technological-informational dystopia.

About artist

Dagmar Šubrtová graduated from The Studio of Universal Sculpture at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Prague under Kurt Gebauer. She worked at the studio as an assistant until 2013. In addition to her artistic profession, she is also involved in thematic curatorial projects, and from 2000 to 2020 she was the head of the dramaturgy of the exhibition programme of the gallery at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. For several years she worked as a curator of the Mining Open-Air Museum in the former Mayrau mine in Vinařice. In her work, she has long been monitoring the transformation of the landscape as a result of ongoing industrialisation. She does not limit herself to reflection, but aims at sculptural interpretation of newly emerging spoil heap sites of the so-called new wilderness, which are physical examples of natural renewal. Since 2015 she has been engaged in the project Na pomezí samoty / Frontiers of Solitude, which explores current issues of landscape transformation and the interconnectedness of post-industrial society and nature. She is co-author of the book Guide: Contemporary Artworks in the Landscape.

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