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Naturally Hypernatural I: Concepts of Nature


Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

Nature, a topic central to art history, is concurrently a dominant concept in contemporary art, art theory and its related disciplines such as cultural theory, philosophy, aesthetic theory and environmental studies. The project Naturally Hypernatural questions lines of tradition and predetermined categories that coexist with the topic of nature. Currently, nature in art surpasses the simple depiction of art as a material or object. To clarify and analyze the interrelations between nature and art is the aim of the project Naturally Hypernatural. Concepts of Nature – the first volume of this project – argues that contemporary art is predominantly concerned with concepts of nature regarding the depth of their implications in order to reveal and analyze their internal structure.

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How much Life is in a Still-Life? Art’s Hypernatural Nature


How Much Life Is In a Still-Life? Art’s Hyper-Natural Nature


In his Stories of Mr. Keuner, Bertolt Brecht involves his readers in Mr. K’s experience and related aesthetic valuation of nature in the piece ‘Mr. K. and Nature’. Asked about his relation to nature, Mr. K. replies:

“Now and then I would like to see a couple of trees when I step out of the house. Particularly because, thanks to their different appearance, according to the time of day and the season, they attain such a special degree of reality. Also, in the cities, in the course of time, we become confused because we always see only commodities, houses and railways, which would be empty and pointless if they were uninhabited and unused. In our peculiar social order, after all, human beings, too, are counted among such commodities, and so, at least to me, since I am not a joiner, there is something reassuringly self-sufficient about trees, something that is indifferent to me […].”

“Why, if you want to see trees, do you not sometimes simply take a trip into the country?” he was asked. Mr. Keuner replied in astonishment: “I said, I would like to see them when I step out of the house.”

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