Vanessa Billy

What is this creature crawling ashore? The floating sculpture Hellbender is reminiscent of an amphibian that is making its way out of the pond with sweeping movements of its spine. The artist used the fossil of a salamander that lived at Lake Constance more than five million years ago as a model. Today, its relics are part of the collection of the Paleontological Museum at University of Zurich.

The five-meter-long, archaic-looking creature recalls the evolution from water to land and at the same time evokes a post-apocalyptic scenario in which the influence of humans still lingers. By making her sculpture out of recycled PET, Vanessa Billy poses the question of what consequences our consumption - and the profit-driven economy that fuels it - will have for the future.

The artist also deals with man's ecological footprint on the planet in her sculpture Thorns and Crowns, which can be seen in the exhibition space. The two aluminum objects are based on the tire tread of a tractor; they look like plants or animals at the same time and play with our idea of "artificiality" and "naturalness".

Both Hellbender and Thorns and Crowns are starting points of a posthuman mind game: with her sculptures, Vanessa Billy makes us think of a world in which the supposedly dead material is brought to life; to a being with a will of its own, winding itself up - or just crawling ashore.

Hellbender, 2023, 3D-print from recycled PET
Thorns and Crowns,
2021, aluminium