Kelly Jazvac “They forgot they were a landscape”


poster for Kelly Jazvac “They forgot they were a landscape”
[Image: Kelly Jazvac "They forgot they were a landscape" detail (2020) salvaged vinyl, found chairs, thread]

This event has ended.

FIERMAN presents They forgot they were a landscape, a solo exhibition by Canadian artist Kelly Jazvac. It is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, and occurs concurrently with her inclusion in the exhibition Broken Nature at MoMA.

For well over a decade, Jazvac has been making artworks from salvaged outdoor advertisements – a material entirely made of plastic. In this new installation, Jazvac has sculpturally altered a used museum banner given to her by staff from the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The banner features an image of a 1538 painting of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

This working method is reminiscent of Jazvac’s Plastiglomerates: found anthropogenic stones made from plastic debris fused with natural sediment. Similarly, They forgot they were a landscape begins with a found synthetic object that offers evidence of prevalent human attitudes toward their own environment. However, in this new work, the artist’s interventions continue, interrupting this familiar Renaissance depiction of woman and nature, working in tandem, to deceive man.1 Jazvac uses fabric manipulation techniques to bring a greater material and imagistic awareness to the details in this iconic picture that is many times removed from its source.

This Judeo-Christian origin story has been cited by many environmentally-oriented theorists as a cultural reinforcement for misogyny, colonialism and environmental exploitation.2 They forgot they were a landscape proposes sutures between Western European art traditions and present-day problematic relationships to land. This diverted feedback loop (in a gallery presentation of an artwork made from an advertisement for the museum itself) is not so dissimilar from the tactics of science-fiction: taking well-known human stories and proclivities and proposing them in a skewed future framework as a means to see the present with greater clarity.

Kelly Jazvac (b. 1980) is a Canadian artist based in Montréal, Canada. She is also part of a plastic pollution research team called The Synthetic Collective, which includes scientists, artists, art historians, philosophers and writers. The work of this research group is highly influential on Jazvac’s artistic practice. She currently has exhibitions at The Musée D’Art Contemporain (Montréal), and (forthcoming) at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Her recent exhibitions include the Eli and Edyth Broad Museum (East Lansing) and Ujazdowski Castle CCA (Warsaw). Her work has been written about in National Geographic, e-flux Journal, Hyperallergic, Art Forum, The New Yorker, Canadian Art Magazine and The Brooklyn Rail. Her collaborative art/science research has been published in scientific journals including Nature Reviews, GSA Today, and Science of the Total Environment.

1 The Islamic version of the Adam and Eve story has both woman and man eating apples at the same time (rather than woman convincing man to eat the apple in Judeo-Christian versions).

2 Vanessa Watts, Greg Garrard, and many others



from January 06, 2021 to January 31, 2021


Kelly Jazvac

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