Natural Disaster, an exhibition of new work by Alison Ruttan. Stemming from her larger ongoing project “A Bad Idea Seems Good Again,” Natural Disaster will be the first exhibition of the ceramic sculpture Ruttan has been working on for the past two years.
Utilizing the inherent properties of the ceramic medium, Ruttan carefully constructs and methodically demolishes buildings and bombsites. The series draws on an ever-expanding archive of images found on the web of man-made destruction from the Middle East and beyond. For Natural Disaster, these ceramic structures will become part of a larger installation of hand-built tables, establishing a space to generate a physiological response.
Ruttan’s interest in complex human social exchanges stem from previous projects that led her to research primate social structures and behavior. Her earlier project, “The Four Year War at Gombe”, was based on Jane Goodall’s study of a group of chimpanzees who had once lived together peacefully when they suddenly split off into two groups and waged civil war with one another, the older group brutally killing all of their former members. This conflict that Goodall wrote about is disturbingly similar to our own human history of violence. Given that over 200 wars are being fought at any one time all over the world, the ceramic work becomes a form of evidence connected to questions on “What is human nature?”
Through Natural Disaster, Ruttan draws out the nuance of our own biological impulses that has been lost somewhere in the rubble.