Nerijus Rimkus, “It’s Not Meant To Be Pretty”
23 October–25 October, 2015, Opening: Friday, 23 October, 17:00
“It’s Not Meant To Be Pretty” is a series of works displaying the outcome of a vegetable patch installed, maintained and left to be, between 2014 and 2015, on two different locations in Arnhem (NL) and Marijampole (LT). The initial aim of the work was to witness the bloom of a plant, one that in general we don’t grow for its beauty. This simple act triggers the question of function and beauty in a much wider sense. What happens when something that is functional, isn’t anymore, but beautiful nonetheless.
The ancient relationship between bees and flowers is a
classic example of what is known as “coevolution.” In a coevolutionary bargain like the one struck by the bee and the apple tree, the two
parties act on each other to advance their individual interests but wind up trading favors: food for the bee, transportation for the apple genes. Consciousness needn’t enter into it on either side, and the traditional distinction between subject and object is meaningless.
Matters between me and the spud I was planting, I realized, really aren’t much different; we, too, are partners in a coevolutionary relationship, as indeed we have been ever since the birth of agriculture more than ten thousand years ago.
Like the apple blossom, whose form and scent have been selected by bees over countless generations, the size and taste of the potato have been selected over countless generations by us—by Incas and Irishmen, even by people like me ordering french fries at McDonald’s. Bees and humans alike have their criteria for selection: symmetry and sweet- ness in the case of the bee; heft and nutritional value in the case of the potato-eating human. The fact that one of us has evolved to become intermittently aware of its desires makes no difference whatsoever to the flower or the potato taking part in this arrangement. All those plants care about is what every being cares about on the most basic genetic level: making more copies of itself.