by Zorica Purlija
The Fall contemplates the uplifting state provided by some of nature's greatest places. These magical places take us to where the burdens of the everyday are dissolved, at least for a short moment.
Bodies of water have been a spiritual place for many cultures, the waterfall serves as a restorative place where people immerse themselves amongst secluded rainforests. The body is revived from everyday trauma through the process of moving through the cool waters.
The Fall inspires us to take action to do everything to protect our natural habitats and to remember a time we were in harmony with our world.
"I used to know things intellectually, but now I feel them. Now I feel that my body is part of nature, so being sick is just a process of nature, and death is a process of nature, and being reborn through the soil is a process of nature."
- Ryuichi Sakamoto
For countless generations, bodies of water have held deep spiritual significance in cultures around the world. They are places of cleansing, healing, and renewal. In The Fall, Purlija transports us to the heart of these sacred spaces, where waterfalls serve as a restorative sanctuary. These cascades of water, set amidst secluded rainforests, become a canvas for the movement of bodies, inviting us to contemplate the connection between humans and the natural environment. This series captures the essence of communal rejuvenation, emphasizing that these natural sanctuaries are shared and enjoyed by all. In a world increasingly divided, The Fall reminds us of the universal connection we all share with the environment and encourages us to celebrate and protect these vital spaces for generations to come.
Central to Purlija's artistic exploration is the concept of the body as a vessel. In our modern lives, our bodies bear the weight of everyday traumas, both physical and emotional. In The Fall, the process of moving through the cool waters of native Australian rivers becomes a metaphorical journey of rejuvenation. The body, immersed in these pristine waters, sheds the burdens of the world, emerging renewed and revitalized. While The Fall transports us to a place of harmony with nature, it also serves as a poignant call to action. Purlija implores us to re-imagine a time when humanity lived in harmony with the Earth, and she challenges us to leap forward and take concrete steps to protect our natural habitats. Her work is a testament to the urgency of preserving the fragile ecosystems that sustain us, urging us to become stewards of our planet.
In creating The Fall, Purlija drew inspiration from Philip Glass' Violin Concerto No.2 rendition of the Four Seasons by Omega Ensemble. The music's epic and evocative qualities are mirrored in her photographs. However, Purlija wisely leaves any literal interpretation to the viewer's imagination. In doing so, she invites us to engage with her work on a deeply personal and emotional level, allowing us to find our unique connection to the natural world.
Purlija's work transcends visual representation; it becomes a vehicle for spiritual connection, healing, and a clarion call for environmental responsibility. As we immerse ourselves in the serenity of her rainforest waterfalls and the rejuvenation of the body, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of all living beings with the natural world. Through this powerful series, Purlija invites us to reflect, to act, and to preserve the beauty and sanctity of our planet for future generations. The Fall is a testament to the enduring power of nature and the boundless potential of human stewardship.
Written by Joey Hespe
Bodies of Water
We are intimately connected with water. As aqueous beings, our bodies are composed mainly of this substance; mediating chemical, metabolic, lymphatic, and cellular reactions within. We drink this solution, but we do not all thirst equally. Through the act of ingestion, water infiltrates our system, working its way down the oesophagus, flowing through our blood stream into our tissues and regenerates our cells, ensuring that our being is invariably sustained. We are conceived through the exchange of fluids, and gestate in amniotic waters that deliver us nutrients and enact the process of genesis. In this circulation of fluid, we are porous; absorbing, leaking, dripping, sipping, seeping, and pooling. We ebb and flow between taking in the world and sending it surging back out as fluvial deposits; of matter and meaning.
We are not separate from our bodies and the waters that flow within. Neither are we from nature. Nature surrounds us, it is us, and it becomes us. Humans are inescapably entwined with the natural world through its intrinsic link to our survival, from our consumption of nutrients to our ability to breathe. We must then relinquish any lingering illusion of nature as separate. Nature constructs us and we construct nature – dominating, exploiting and patronising. Water often retains the anthropomorphic matter of our influence, acting as an archive of our disruption of the ecological assemblage. As our oceans warm up, as our rivers no longer reach the sea, as we pollute and spill petroleum into our waterways, as we mine our seabed for minerals, and as we commodify drinking water, there seems to be now more than ever, the necessity to reflect upon and reconnect to our landscape.
Zorica Purlija’s The Fall is a series of composite photographs of Australian rivers and waterfalls, where fragments of ephemeral moments are digitally overlayed to create dreamlike montages. The Australian landscape is aestheticised through a visual language where the surface topography of the image has been constructed to present nature as something that is transmutable and shifting – changing, changed – at the hands of humanity. These incongruous landscapes are both foreign and familiar, rendered transitional due to its interstitial existence between dual reference points; this and that, here and there, then and now. Featuring an embodied installation of dye sublimation on metal and silk chiffon prints, The Fall immerses the viewer into the depths and grandeur of the natural world. The juxtaposition of this materiality further emulates the fluidity and flux of our terrain and alludes to the hybridity that has resulted within our organic equilibria. Impulsively, we often overlay our perspectives, memories, and sensations onto water, observing a reflection of ourselves within its liquid architecture, where we are confronted with our innate humanness and the implication of our actions on the world around us.
Through this photographic series, and in particular the work I’ve got you (2023), it seems as if Purlija is asking us to submerge ourselves; to shed one’s clothes, to take the plunge, to bathe, to be amongst the flowing waters. Whereby, she urges us to recognise the interconnectedness of nature and the ontological equivalence among all beings; sentient or otherwise. The Fall reminds us that we must find respite in nature and question reciprocity and co-existence in order to move towards a more sustainable eco-future in which there is the imposition to heal and become symbiotic with nature, or risk falling into the deep end.
We as humans are not separate from nature and the waters that flow in, from, and between us. Without water, there is no being, or becoming. As it is water that buoys our flesh.
Written by Sarah Rose
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