A large tractor drives onto the land, the ride comfortable and efficient, yet the wheels suffocate the life underneath it. It sprays down poison and in the next heartbeat plants new seeds, leaving a green desert with a deafening silence. In this field stands a massive building, a disruption to the land. A space filled to the brink with production animals. In it’s shadow lies old tools and machinery, things not to be used nor thrown away. A decaying memory of a different life. But where there is decay the land is most fertile.
Eva van Wenum (1997) is a multidisciplinary artist focussed primarily upon sculptural work, often using found objects and natural materials. Growing up on an organic goat farm has been a major point of inspiration in her work. The farm, which has been in her family for generations, was built upon sandy soil in the Veluwe. It took many years to create a layer of fertile ground, a humus layer which is now, after five generations, around a meter in depth. But this effort can be undone in only a few years. The neighbouring lands are being exhausted by overproduction, the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizer and the lack of biodiversity. Not to mention the use of heavy machinery pressing out the air from the top layer, making it harder for plants to take root.
All these things we do for fast and cheap products are unsustainable for the future, draining all the life from the land and neighbouring areas. Losing all the knowledge of the land along the way. Even with this knowledge, there still seems to be a preference in the use of technology and machinery for new developments to help treat the symptoms instead of the disease. Surely the lost craftsmanship, which held the communication, knowledge and understanding between us humans and land/other, should be retrieved, retaught and revitalised.
In her work Eva van Wenum reflects upon the way the farming of the past, the erosion of land, loss of relevant knowledge and the effects of climate change which brought drought to the land. The work holds a stillness in which lingers a sense of longing and melancholia, bringing forth a need for urgency within this decay.