Corals appear in history as talismans against evil, as coveted collector's items, as painted objects in art, as creatures with a healing power. Philosophers, naturalists and writers have filled our imaginations with these mysterious beings. In both fictional and real worlds, their multitude of shapes and textures and their enthralling colors have fascinated us for millions of years. They have a glorious past, but a present that falters. Over 40% of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed in the last thirty years, due to pollution, ocean warming and destructive fishing methods. How can such wonder and abuse coexist? In Beyond Coral White, this marine animal exemplifies humanity’s paradoxical attitude towards the natural world. Inspired by a 17th-century engraving by Philips Galle that represents the looting of the seabed, Marie Lukasiewicz has developed a multi-layered visual investigation of the bleaching and destruction of corals, and the exploitation of its properties in the parapharmaceutical industry. Blending both documentary and fictional narratives in her artistic practice, she questions our persistent and destructive habits of consumption. Her work whispers: we are nature destroying itself.
Text Cale Garrido.