The Surroundings series arose from the experience of my involvement with nature, I wanted to play being a tree, being a plant, I wanted to be part of it. I am part of the whole, I am not one thing and nature another.
I read, by Orhan Pamuk, his desire to be the meaning of the tree and not itself. After that, I started to wonder what that sense would be, what would it mean to be a tree? Where there is a tree there is life, harmony, transcendence. They are social beings – and I think other plants too. They share the water, the sun, the shade and their nutrients among themselves and with the other forms of life around them, in which I include myself. They help each other and others. Generosity and intelligence in realizing that taking care of others is taking care of yourself and, together, you know you are stronger.
A single tree is not a forest, it is left unprotected and exposed, but many trees together can live and last a long time. If all beings only took care of themselves, a large part would die – which seems a tonic nowadays in the face of individualist occupations from all socio- political and economic spheres. It is necessary to discover a point, a place, a moment where everyone will be one, integrated, and thus we will discover a new way of inhabiting the planet together. We will discover, above all, a way to get closer to be the surroundings of ourselves, of others and of all the life that pulsates with us.
It was while walking around my body and the space I occupy in this world that I was able to feel the vital force of nature and the importance of its existence. I am part of the whole, I am not one thing and nature another. I discovered so many beauties that I can barely explain myself. All these feelings make me understand that it is essential to take care, protect, get involved, reintegrate myself into this world called natural, from which I was removed by culture. The Surroundings series arose from the experience of this involvement with nature, I wanted to play being a tree, being a plant, I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to feel, touch, create roots. I also set out to think about the relationship between nature and culture by abusing the pose, the clothes, the strangeness generated by the absence of a specific identity by the obliteration of the face.
In my surroundings there are several trees and plants, some of that must have been here for a long time and others that have been planted over the years. In front of my house lives a very large almond tree. Wrapped around its trunk and branches cohabits a devil’s ivy plant. I think that the almond tree does not bother to be a host for the devil’s ivy plant, the birds, the monkeys and so many other living beings that enjoy it, including me, who take advantage of its shade and its beauty. What is the meaning of an almond tree? What is my meaning?
Ulla von Czékus (Salvador, BA, Brazil). Fascinated by plants, as long as she remembers, she has inherited her mother’s passion, and developed an intrinsic relationship with photography as a child, influenced by her father – photographer by hobby. She united her two passions, resulting in a macrophotographic investigation that records each phase, from resplendence to senescence, of the observed object. Exploring and discovering unusual textures, colors and shapes in seeds, leaves, flowers and trees that suggest a reflection, as a visual metaphor, for the temporality and impermanence of human life.