In my sculptures and installations, I use discarded objects and materials that I find in the city, to investigate overlaps and encounters of the natural and the artificial, object and organism, the living and the non-living. On almost daily bike rides past the enormous trash piles in Amsterdam, I collect objects such as pieces of furniture, dead house plants, plastic flowers, garden accessories, bits of fences, cat crab posts, floor mops, broken pipes, building materials, etc. I see these as leftovers of the materialist society that I live in and important carriers of value and meaning, despite their loss of function. Using approaches and strategies like reappropriation, manipulation and sometimes photographic staging (depending on what the materials require), my work is a way of recycling, preserving and caring for the materials I reclaim. It is also a quiet criticism of western consumerism and the enormous waste accumulation that results from it. I like to think of my studio as a garden where objects gather, cross-pollinate and grow into new hybrid forms and beings, reminiscent of strange plants or creatures. I look for combinations of objects that ‘talk back to me’. This process is highly intuitive and associative, and can take a lot of time. The relations between the objects and how they function together is important, and I often arrange them into groups or ‘species’, imagining them as inhabitants of a world without humans, where discarded materials start to have a life of their own and become actors or characters.
Sara Bjarland is a Finnish artist living and working in Amsterdam. She graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2007, and later attended the studio programme HISK in Ghent in 2012-2013. Residencies include EKWC in Oisterwijk (2018-19), and TBG+S in Dublin (2016). Recent shows include Galerie Dudok de Groot, Amsterdam, Past Events at Hopstreet Gallery, Brussels, Rumination Tale at Plan B, Amsterdam, The Prophecy of Bees, curated by Julia Geerlings at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (NL), Invasive Exotics at RAM Galleri, Oslo; and Fem studier i metamorfos at The Finnish Institute in Stockholm.
Sara Bjarland is generously supported by Mondriaan Fund 2016-2018 and Svenska Kulturfonden 2018-2019.