Jura Shust. Coniferous Succession

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In his exhibition Coniferous Succession, Jura Shust highlights the art of meaning-making and presents with an anthropological interest the forest as an ancient, sensual territory of non-linearity. The artist unfolds a myriad of overlapping mythologies and spiritual beliefs that have been knitted around coniferous forests by multiple cultures in search of a connection with divinity. Shust’s interest in depicting the relations between ritual, escapism, and contemporary scientific research, starts from the native inhabitants of Eastern Europe, more specifically from the Finno-Ugric tribes. Echoing through the exhibition space is a sound piece: a collage of multiple ethnographic sources that tells the story of the spruce and the human’s symbiotic relationship. We hear of rituals involving breast milk, blood, or stillborn babies buried under trees; we hear of trees that whisper about the future, have the ability to bless households, of trees that bleed, and of trees that long for their twin-humans to find them. We also hear of trees that bless lovers, of trees that open their bellies to give birth after nine months, and of trees that help the departed ones pass on peacefully to the afterworld. — Adriana Blidaru