A green screen

Updated: Sep 24, 2019, 08:06 IST | Dalreen Ramos

With an installation and screening based on recordings at Aarey Forest, Italian artist Valentina Furian showcases the urgency to save the city's green lung

Furian will install a large billboard of her photographic work done at the Aarey Forest. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Furian will install a large billboard of her photographic work done at the Aarey Forest. Pic/Suresh Karkera

While actors turn into politicians, and politicians turn into actors, artist Valentina Furian treads the line of fact and fiction — hoping that her work helps the viewer differentiate the two. The Aarey forest has been at the centre of much-needed debate. For the past week, it's also been a centre of reflection for the 29-year-old Italian where she has been working on a site-specific intervention — a combination of photography and videography — a glimpse of which you'll get to see at Kala Ghoda's Method, a contemporary arts space, in a show titled Before.

Furian enters the gallery with a 7x14 foot billboard. What seems like just a scene from the forest with a peek-a-boo into a solitary leopard is actually a constructed diorama. Pointing towards the billboard, she tells me more about her process, "I went to the Natural History Museum in Milan where I took photos of the displays comprising built environments. So the landscapes you see inside them aren't real but plastic with animals made out of taxidermy." Then, Furian matches the print with a physical location in Aarey, which a local family living close to the limits of the forest guided her to. In the two-day exhibition that starts tomorrow, the artist will showcase short clips of this juxtaposition.

Furian's assemblages are a juxtaposition of fiction and reality
Furian's assemblages are a juxtaposition of fiction and reality

The collaboration for the intervention with Furian came about through Art Oxygen, a city-based independent arts organisation, and The Blank, a contemporary arts space in Bergamo, near Milan. But this isn't a departure from her previous work either; one of her videos features a white donkey entering a museum in Bologna. Nature has always been close to her heart ever since she was a child — sparked through her uncle's love for little Chinese birds. "I didn't know about Aarey before I came to India. It's so different to read about it in Italy versus actually being there. The contrast between wildness and domestication is really important for me and I like to explore the limit between this," she says.

In the city till the first week of October, Furian hopes that this is only the beginning of her work at Aarey. There's also a performance that will be held at the location of the installation with Aarey's indegenous community on Friday. Before, thus, plays on the transient nature of our environment and she explains it well. "When you enter the museum, you feel very melancholic because you want to be inside but this is a fake world. And when you are at Aarey, you also feel melancholic because everything is real but you can feel that it's all going to disappear very fast. So, I feel that this image on the billboard is connected with the future of Aarey."

The Italian artist's ealier work featured a donkey entering a museum
The Italian artist's ealier work featured a donkey entering a museum

On September 25 to 26
At Method, 86 Nagindas Master Road, Mezzanine Floor, Kala Ghoda.
Log on to themethod.in/event/before/ (to RSVP)
Free

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