In her work, as in her daily life, Mariëlle Videler explores a pre-modern conceptual model in which man coexists with animals and nature. In her installations, objects, drawings, videos and performances, Videler is in search of a different way of life, and of a new aesthetic to contest dominant modalities of our culture. Her creative process is based on the cultures of indigenous people. The means of existence of these people are connected to the soil; moreover, their entire spiritual, cultural and social identities are intimately entwined with the land.
In order to explore this unknown world, Videler travels both physically and in the mind, identifying herself with a traveller. This approach informed projects such as “Onca Pintada” (2012) or “Blinded Resident” (2014). The first project entailed a tentative acquaintance with indigenous people of Brazil; the second was a physical trip to Morocco without, however, actually seeing the country. Videler’s oeuvre-in-construction interweaves manual labour,
rituals and love of nature.
In her new installation “Jump to the beat of the animal feet”, Mariëlle Videler is looking for a reassessment of our relationship to animals. Her starting point was images of hunting and prehistoric images of animals. She visually translates images into a modern day cosmology of plants and animals. She draws European animals, mostly from the urban environment, such as rats, ants, parakeets and a domestic cat.
The installation in Gallery Lumen Travo consists of six large circular applications of textile and seeds, one central large rectangular shape and a number of smaller objects, such as a wire strung seeds. The idea for this installation was created during the study of prehistoric rock paintings that are in the national park Serra da Capri Vara, Brazil. In 2012, she first saw images of these rock paintings in the University of São Paulo, in the thesis of Niède Guidon (1983). As a result of the Brazilian archaeologist’s study of these rock paintings, she went on to develop the conservation of the national park as her life’s work. The cave paintings were made by different groups of people at different times, along a route that was later used by the colonists. The paintings were often painted over during the years. Remarkably, the depicted animals were portrayed while in motion, at height of action, minimal lines were used and they were not always shown in logical proportion to each other and to humans.
Traditional indigenous hunters are aware of the imbalance through hunting. Hunters take part in a ritual before departure, which includes asking permission to animals and when too many animals are hunted they take revenge which is called Panema by the Guarani people (a story reminiscent of Diana, the goddess of hunting, which punishes when one takes too much of nature for oneself). The depiction of animals and rituals, such as a dance with animal masks, play an important role in maintaining a connection and balance with nature.