The wondrous and mutable nature of the insects is the subject matter of Astrid Myntekær’s exhibition, Insecare. She is fascinated by the appearance and transformational life of insects, which she has made the object of artistic interpretations in eight copper sculptures. Folded as origami, at first the mobile sculptures are cut in one piece with inspiration from the segmented body shapes of insects. Hence the title of the exhibition, which in Latin means ‘to cut into’, and which the word insect derives from. Whereas insects live microscopic, often hidden lives, Myntekær has created monumental figures that insist on our attention. In so doing, she strikes a note that harmonizes with the both threatening and threatened status of this group of creatures.
Characteristic of Astrid Myntekær’s artistic practice is a focus on fragile and homeless lives and the aesthetics of changeability. Light is a recurrent element in her praxis, as also in this exhibition, where it adds depth and life to the otherwise flat copper figures. Light is also an essential factor in the lives of insects. Nocturnal insects navigate for example by the light of the moon and several insects produce and emit their own light, so-called bioluminescence.
It is estimated that the 1 million known insect species make up 20 percent of the species on the planet. This makes insects the most numerous form of wildlife on earth. However, in recent years insects have been undergoing an accelerating decline in numbers – called The Sixth Mass Extinction. This development can be explained by the fact that the habitats of insects are disappearing, as a consequence of among other things the use of pesticides in farming, but also the development of more uniform landscapes and the clearance from woodland areas of dead trees and other environments where insects belong and thrive.
Insects are crucial to the ecosystem of the planet. The threat to their existence is therefore also a threat to life as we know it today. Despite this fragility, insects have already survived five prior mass extinctions. The exhibition thus not only revolves around what we stand to lose but also how life can change and adapt to change.
Astrid Myntekær (f. 1985) bor og arbejder i København. Hun er uddannet fra Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg og Det Kgl. Danske Kunstakademi, København. Myntekær har udstillet på danske og internationale kunstinstitutioner, ligesom hendes værker findes i flere samlinger herunder Arken Museum of Modern Art, Statens Kunstfond, Københavns Billedkunstudvalg, Københavns Kommune og Örebro konsthall. Astrid Myntekær blev i foråret 2021 tildelt Statens Kunstfond 3-årige arbejdslegat.