Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins Jonk travels the world looking for abandoned places. Today, he has visited more than one thousands of them in more than forty countries on four continents.
With time, his interest has focused on what appeared to him to be the strongest in this vast subject of abandonment: Nature taking over. It is poetic, even magic, to see this Nature retaking what used to be hers, reintegrating through broken windows, cracks on the walls, spaces built by Man and then neglected, until sometimes guzzling them up entirely. Moreover, this series asks the question of the place of Man on Earth and his relationship with Nature. Far from being pessimistic, and at a time when Man’s domination of Nature has never been so extreme, it aims to wake our consciousness. In March 2018, he released the book Naturalia – Reclaimed by Nature. Man builds, Man abandons. Every time for his own peculiar reasons. Nature does not care about those reasons. But one thing is for sure, when Man leaves, She comes back and takes back everything. Nature is stronger, and whatever happens to Man, She will always be there. Knowing that, instead of confronting her all the time, Man should walk hand in hand with Nature.
The series also tells a story: that of the progression of Nature, from her approach around the outsides, through the infiltration in abandoned places and the moment where She grows inside them, until their collapse. Burial comes next along with the disappearance of all traces of Man. In her inexorable progression, She starts reclaiming the outsides of an Italian villa (Photography 1) before infiltrating the insides of a Croatian castle (2) or a Belgian greenhouse (4). Then, She grows in the atrium of a Polish palace (7) or in a Cuban theater (8) before filling up all the space of a Montenegrin castle (12). Then, She guzzles the cross of a Belgian monastery (14) or given more time, imprisons two Taiwanese mansions with her strong roots (19 & 20). The next steps? Collapse and burial. When Nature and Time take back what Man abandoned, what will be left of our civilization?
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