What happens to the artifacts of our civilized world when they no longer serve a purpose? Are they burned to the ground or left to collect dust?
In Collecting Dust, I recreate famous artworks and cover them in dust to imagine what prized masterpieces might look like in a post-apocalyptic world. This series takes inspiration from the ruin follies of 18th century Europe, which are ornamental buildings constructed to look as if they are the the half-decaying remains of a older fictitious buildings.I covered these tablescapes with studio dust and ash, so these new assemblages don the appearance of years of neglect.
Collecting Dust takes on the illusion of artifacts documented from a world of decay. Closer inspection reveals that these still lives, while alluding to a post-apocalyptic present, actually belong to a world outside of time. Modern objects, and a recently blown out candle are arranged as if belonging to Dutch vanitas painting of the baroque period, taking such objects and symbols out of their historical context to present multiple simultaneous visions of decay. .
Instead, Collecting Dust documents a surrealistic new world, constructed from dust. While it seems at first that Collecting Dust looks back at a world gone by, it actually suggests an act of looking forward. Perhaps these objects are a representation of the anthropocene, where human activity reconfigured our natural world, or perhaps Collecting Dust imagines an end of time, but much like fake ruins, these constructions are made new. The butterflies in the vanitas arrangements offer a note of hope—a symbol of the renewal that is possible after civilizations collapse and nature renews itself.