Eastern European Collectors
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Knoll Gallery Budapest is temporarily closed considering the current public health situation.

Meanwhile our work doesn't stop. We are available via e-mail (epilinger@knollgaleria.hu).

The Age of the Solastalgia

Csaba Nemes: What Will Be Here?, 2013, olaj, vászon, 80x80 cm

18. May - 24. July 2021



Birkás Ákos, Paul Horn, Mariann Fercsik, Gideon Horváth, Bartosz Kokosinski, Nemes Csaba, W. Kamen Stoyanov, W. Horváth Tibor
Curator: Erzsébet Pilinger

When nature’s known processes became unknown, and the familiar scene drastically changed, psychological symptoms such as quandary, sorrow, or the feeling of lacking something could arise. The state of this constant anxiety manifests itself in physical malfunctions, as philosopher Glenn Albrecht observed – and analysed – in the early 2000s. He used the word solastalgia to describe a special kind of melancholy first observed among Australian farmers, aboriginals and people living near open-pit mines and power plans. All the symptoms were connected to the disproportionate decay and the loss of shelter. Solastalgia, similarly to nostalgia, is composed of Latin solar- (belonging to the Sun or the Earth), solacium (solace, comfort, relief) and Greek -algia (pain) to indicate a gloom-like syndrome that needs to be healed.

Disproportionate change in forms of storms, floods or droughts caused by industrial activities, pollution, deforestation and real estate development leads to incapacity, social isolation, and deprivation resembling nostalgia, described among seventeenth-century soldiers stationed afar, but now we could lose our homes without even leaving the house. Suffering from solastalgia. in a now-foreign and grim environment, everyday work along with remembrance became difficult – even impossible. Topped with the force to leave, change one’s life, and go into an uncertain future, we might lose ourselves as well.

According to Albrecht, thanks to rapid climate change, resource exploitation, and the decrease of biodiversity, more and more of us will experience solastalgia. Thus, the psychosomatic results of ecological transformations change the living conditions of entire communities. But for realizing an ecological psychology, this sickness can be treated. The ecological rapture could be wound up by limiting non-sustainable practices and providing cultural propositions – through art – to environmental degradation. Here, solastalgia is seen as a critical understanding of environmental damages caused by capitalocene societies.

Our exhibition shows works presenting the changing landscapes of the solastalgia-era, refering to changes in remenbarnce and identity, psyche and cognitive processes as well, sometimes not without humour. The paintings, films and objects could give a chance  - beyond the interpretation of ideas traditionally associated with the landscape (sublime, transcendent, idyllic, mythical) - to understand how deeply and personally we  all are affected by the destruction or the survival of the present's landscapes. Particularly now, when we are living in a time of solastalgia, in which an intense natural phenomenon, infection - also considered a consequence of environmental destruction - causes fear and suffering.

And if new concepts  - gothic or darkened nature, eco-gothic and dark ecology or third landscape - are included in the process of interpreting landscape displays, this also leads to the experience that human and environmental are not independent from each other: namely, the protection of the nature - the living creatures, the rocks and even the "spirit of the place" known from myths -  the saving of the entire planet means also the protection of all human Thus, the question may arise whether the possibility of common action with the individuums of all livings, that lost their autonomy could be developed. Can a differently organized society, which does not see all this as cheap nature, offer a chance to escape - using the phrase of James Lovelock - from Gaia's revenge?


Online film connected to the exhibition:
Csaba Nemes: Silent Film