Eden Turned on Its Side: A Trilogy

Eden Turned on Its Side represents the culmination of a decade of work by artist Meridel Rubenstein. This project explores human relationships to the environment, and considers a natural world transformed by human industry, carbon emissions, and war, asking us to to contemplate our places in these ongoing crises. The work suggests that things are dangerously out of balance, but also holds out hope for restoration and repair.

Eden Turned on Its Side is comprised of three series: Photosynthesis, Volcano Cycle, and Eden in Iraq. Together they engage ecologies on the telescoping scales of human time, geological time, and mythical time. Photosynthesis is framed by the cycles of the seasons, Volcano Cycle by deep time spanning back tens of thousands of years, and Eden in Iraq by the eternal time of religious cosmologies. The work invites us to understand how natural and human histories shape one another in producing a fragile life on Earth.

The first exhibition in which selections from all three of the series of Eden Turned on Its Side were shown together, as the project was originally conceived, was at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. The exhibit was curated by Shawn Michelle Smith, Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.