Water: the flow of situations

Monday, 03 March 2014 10:23 Written by Sophie Voortman

 Morocco, April 2013.

In “Water: the flow of situations” Jeannette Betancourt, a collector of stories and objects, allows viewers to wander among singular pieces of work relating to water, and its advantages and disadvantages. Gathering together distorted myths, Greek tales and marketing processes surrounding this resource, the artist does not attempt to reach conclusions and instead challenges  us: As she says, “My aim is not to resolve issues, but to ask open questions that can enhance our understanding of our relationship with water.”

In the beginning was the Aegean Sea, Greek myths and battles. "X-ray of power" and "Wall of Water" were created in this context. They refer to the temperament of water, which roars and struggles against the suffocation of pollution, then becomes calm and generous. Current environmental problems have undermined the sea’s role as provider of life for flora and fauna. Contemporary man, the first being to govern the natural world, overlooks this situation, and does not attempt to strike a balance between the different aspects of Nature. The first man is above all a multitude of daily events, but also a mass of stories that do not appear harmful, yet have global consequences.

This generally begins with an isolated case in a short space of time, defined like a ship alone in the sea that turns into a ghost and dies out of sight and out of mind. However, these stories become, in disturbing real events, able to cause the weakening of the whole ecosystem, and the current situation presents many echoes of them. This unstable balance takes the form of five containers with objects recovered on Salé beach in Morocco, named “The Lullaby”.

The artist uses the subject of water to express the antagonism and confusion that currently reign in Nature. The piece “Downpour” recovers a fragment from her childhood, the sudden cloudbursts in Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, despite this, water is scarce. The artist constantly reworks this expression, and the work “Fragmentation” seeks to highlight humans’ harmful practices with water, notably their pragmatic vision, the notions of useful collection, everyday distribution and use, and economic points of view.

In this white cube, a purified space, Jeannette Betancourt uses a collection of objects and narratives to create a discourse on our considerations and relationship with water, the evolution from deification to pollution. Once again, she presents Greek tales, both mythological and historical. The traces of divine presence are still preserved, despite the Western world’s suppression of gods and thereby predestination. Yet rather than eliminate them entirely, man takes on the attributes of the gods, their moods and gestures. The industrial era was one of the boldest manifestations of this reality. Though history has always revealed a divine presence, rarely has the finite nature of man and Nature been taken into consideration. As a result, man and his artifacts such as plastic bottles have been deified. Humans gradually purged from their consciousness their responsibility towards a world whose inhabitants are all intimately  linked.

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