Pandora Graessl discusses her public art project that urges us to rethink and rebuild our relationship to the natural world
What is The Re Project?
A reset, a reboot, a return to our roots. It’s Nature talking to us and inviting us to look around and within us.
How does art change when it’s placed in a public space?
Even those who don’t want to see, see. I don’t like to be in a box, I like to think outside of it. Nature is also not meant to be imprisoned.
What creative opportunities and challenges has the lockdown brought you?
To focus and reflect. It grounded me and helped me to be fully present. It was for me the perfect opportunity and time to properly release this project that was in march with the time we are experiencing. It’s a moment of honesty towards ourselves and the dysfunction we have with our world, how we got to a mad stage of too much of everything. Being in lockdown made us realise how little we truly need.
How can we get more people to wake up and see the magic around us?
We need to ring the bell. People wake up when things become too uncomfortable to endure and lockdown pointed out a lot. Waking up is not easy and peaceful, it’s tough, but eventually it becomes rewarding and liberating. Reality is far greater than what we’ve been told or taught. Once we tune in, there’s a whole limitless world that opens up. The beauty of Nature is already such magic and it is everywhere – we are part of it. Being confined in our houses, we understood the necessity to be more connected to her and how much we need to feel her. We need to re-sensibilise and re-educate ourselves – put in perspective its greatness and absoluteness. It was amazing because it all started early spring and nature bloomed so poetically. That’s all we could witness at one stage, it was pretty special.
Did growing up next to the sublime mountains of Switzerland shape your relationship to the natural world?
For sure. It’s been a blessing. I grew up next to a farm, in a very simple way. My dad would walk me everyday in the forest, my holidays were on the lake or in the mountains where storms and thunder rumble to remind you that you’re just a little ant. I understood quickly that there was a higher force out there. I arrived in France when I was five though, it was long acceptance process.
How do you get your fix of flora and fauna in a highly urbanised centre like Paris?
I escape… I’ve spent my life seeking the protection of Nature. I’ve always been back and forth from Switzerland – it’s my safeguard. I made myself a little garden of eden in my studio – having plants and life around me keeps me sane. I lived in LA for a bit where cactuses and flowers grow at every corner, where the beach and desert are only a few miles away, that was great! Now I drive out of the city very regularly, it’s a new life for me in Paris.
What role does art and activism have in mitigating climate change?
It’s one of the best ways for being heard. The masses must understand the depth of the global issue of climate change and art reaches the heart and guts straight away, we are emotions and art calls them out. It has always made our minds evolve, that’s a fact.
Why is love central to your work?
No love, no life, as simple as that. It’s the motor of it all…the solution, the remedy.