Sjoerd Martens

Earthskin, 2019

200 x 200 cm
digital c-print and video

"Every day we are confronted by more and more artificiality in our surroundings. Our natural spaces are slowly transforming into a mise-en-scène that reflects our human activities. Simultaneously, it can also be seen as a device that we employ as we desire.

‘Earthskin’ is a botanical artwork, a video sculpture consisting of flora and artefacts extracted from our everyday lives. These so-called artefacts nowadays seem to be incorporated into our living environment. As seen in this work, different types of consumption packaging materials remain indigestible. These are ranging from some chewing gum, chocolate aluminium foil that fills entire landscapes, or simply a bubble blowing for recreational use, to the sweetness that is again found on the flower petals.

Not only do these elements exist in the grand scheme of things, but they also form their microcosms. The viewer is brought into an unfamiliar environment through micrography and collaging. Organic and synthetic bodies circulate seamlessly, creating an unknown habitat and breathing space. What we were first unable to perceive, is now immortalized in a new digital creation."

About the artist:

Sjoerd Martens (b. 1993, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam.

“We are constantly leaving traces of our existence behind in our surroundings but we also have the urge to erase them as quickly as possible. They normally do not capture our attention, either because of their everydayness or perceived ugliness. The hidden beauty and purity of the human traces are what I want to immortalize so that they can be experienced differently and infinitely. Consequently, the subjects are no longer taken for granted. It is thus reminiscent of archeology, but with a different purpose and an unconventional mean.

I see my work as a sculpture of our legacy. The areas I create are characterized by past human presence, current abandonment and future uncertainty. The human traces as still life are brought to a new breathing environment through multidisciplinarity and atypical narrative techniques. The manipulated mise-en-scène forms a post-apocalyptic, semi-surreal microcosm that includes physical and non-physical signs of our mortality. This haven is solely palpable and is comparable to past childhood dreams, or dissociation from one’s environment or self.”