With her ephemeral sculptures of speculative botanical species, Silke Riis plays with the idea of evolution pushed and shaped by climate change. By combining beauty and horror in the aesthetic of each piece, she reflects her own feelings about the uncertain future she is facing.
Materials and mortality
The sculptures in “Shadow Dwellers” are each at a different stage of a slow transformation. You might not notice it at first, but as you touch their tentacles or stroke their skin they might crack or shed, revealing how each piece is unmistakably in the process of decomposition.
Made with a self-developed technique, combining natural latex with unfired clay, each piece becomes flexible and resilient yet inherently ephemeral. Over time, the nature latex changes color, fades, and crumbles, while the clay disintegrates into dust or mud, exposing the structure within. These structures, or skeletons, most often consist of steel and ceramics, mimicking the fossilized remnants from past species in a speculative story of future life. Silke thinks of these artworks as bouquets of flowers, cherished for their fleeting beauty while serving as a haunting reminder of mortality.
With this installation she celebrates the act of adapting to hostile environments and the composure she personally found in envisioning a future she'll never live to experience.