Regret in the Garden of Eden (2018)
The print ‘Reue (Regret)’ by Symbolist artist Alexander Frenz in 1897 shows the despair of Adam and Eve after having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve is laid on the rough ground in shame, while Adam stands with his back turned staring into a small lake which resembles a void or empty wasteland. As they await their fate, the snake hangs in the tree looking on.
Seeing this print at the British Museum visually reminded me of a set of photos I had recently taken. A barren landscape with an old animal shed and a rain-filled pool reflecting a dead sky. The photos were taken as a melancholic response to the issues surrounding climate change. On deeper thinking, I could see parallels in the stories and messages of the two works.
As per the moment after Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation in their idyllic garden, humankind has to face the consequences of its actions. Global warming, an invisible yet all-powerful force, risks causing our own suffering and banishment.
‘Regret in the Garden of Eden’ laments our situation as we stare into the void and realise what is at stake in our own Garden of Eden.
Regret in the Garden of Eden, 2018, Photopolymer Etching on Somerset paper
Regret in the Garden of Eden Triptych, 2019, Photopolymer Etching on Somerset paper
Over several months, I returned to the site to view it at different times of the year. The disappearing pool became significant in my quest to explore the subjects of climate change and regret.