For (re)connecting.earth (02) - Beyond Water, Monica Ursina Jäger's research focuses on aquatic forests. Like terrestrial forests, they are home to an important fauna of fish and invertebrates. Similar to the woods and meadows on the surface, the macrophyte meadows of Lake Geneva are found on the slopes of the shoreline. The artist poetically invites us to plunge into these ancient forests of the lake, to wander through the underwater sylvan world, to meet the plant ancestors of the trees, to inhale the plankton and to rest under the submerged leafy canopies.
To this end, Monica Ursina Jäger has created her work Sous-bois. Forestal Stories from Underwater right on the boards of the Bains des Pâquis pier. By painting parts of the planks that make up the pier, the artist has integrated a drawing of a forest canopy into the existing wooden deck. A terrestrial forest is thus superimposed on the underwater forest, creating simultaneous temporalities where deep time (geological, illustrated here by the lake) and the present (surface time) meet. With the warmth and light, his drawing (inter)connects macrophytes, trees, wood as a material and the sun in a shared ecosystem: an invitation to slip between the prehistoric stems and hide in the dense undergrowth. This work is as much an invitation to travel into the past as it is to imagine the future.
▶ Artwork: Sous-bois. Forestal Stories from Underwater, 2023, Painting on wooden deck, site-specific, 8100 x 260 cm
▶ Venue: Bains des Pâquis
▶ Scientific collaboration: Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman