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13 Jan 2020

Margaret Keller: Botanica absentia

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Reviewed by Alexis Rivierre

Grounded in a dystopian narrative, "Botanica absentia" mirrors the impending reality of a world where species of trees cease to exist. Multidisciplinary artist Margaret Keller investigates how culture, nature, and technology impact our world, illuminating how our collective fate is determined by the rapid rate of climate change. Keller cultivates the experience of standing in the midst of absence by transporting her audience to site meant to document the mutated and memorialize the extinct.

Bleak, black walls frame this reality. Keller has suspended a transformed Eastern Redbud tree branch from the ceiling. Vivid lights, as if slivers of hope, refract off the dichroic plexiglass seed pods that hang from the branch. The holographic vinyl floor shimmers with each step. Seventy-two dog tags pinned to the wall, inscribed with names of extinct tree species and the phrase "memento mori," remind us that eventually, everything dies.

Exhibition Margaret Keller: Botanica absentia link
Start date 06 Sep 2019
End date 29 Dec 2019
Presenter Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis link
Venue 3750 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, USA map
Image Margaret Keller: Botanica absentia, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, photo by Dusty Kessler

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