Robert Pettena | Hunting the Baron

Hunting the Baron | Performance: Die Eroberung Des Nutzlosen,  Suburbia, Granada
Everything in life is changing constantly; the urban environment and the countryside, both influenced by humans, are changing. Obviously the urban environment was built, while farming, forestry and roads have moulded the countryside. In this exhibition Pettena asks us to look with new eyes at urban and rural landscapes, non-judgmentally, paying close attention.

Poggio alla Regina, Suburbia, Granada
Jungle Junction ,Suburbia, Granada
Hunting the Baron refers to a novel by Italo Calvino about the Baron, who decides to leave the city to live in the trees. He soon discovers that he enjoys living in the tree tops better than living on the ground, so he stays there, communicating with people below but refusing to come down. The Baron is detached from urban life, viewing it from a different perspective.

Hunting the Baron, Suburbia, Granada
 Pettena exhibited a video of the Baron leaping from branch to branch through the tree tops, followed by someone we perceive but cannot see, someone who is unable to catch up with the Baron. He built his Jungle junction bar from green saplings and planks, focussing on the way urban people are fascinated by the natural environment.

Die Eroberung Des Nutzlosen,  Suburbia, Granada
There were large format photos of scenes from nature, each containing a discordant note: in one case a super eight lm camera: to represent the recording, analysis, study and defence of the natural environment. In another photo there is a record player, to produce sound, just as Herzog does in his iconic film, Fitzcaraldo: the Conquest of the Useless, where the hero plays a recording of Caruso on his gramophone in the middle of the Amazonian jungle.

Die Eroberung Des Nutzlosen,  Suburbia, Granada
Pettena entrapped a young woman inside a wooden structure in a performance, again alluding to ways in which we are trapped within the urban environment, a metaphor for organic matter escaping from our control. This installation was a reflection on the relationship between the urban and rural landscape and our perception of them.

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