Sara Bjarland – Groundwork


In her sculptures and installations, Sara Bjarland uses discarded objects and materials that she finds in the city, to investigate overlaps and encounters of the natural and the artificial, the living and the non-living. On almost daily bike rides past the enormous trash piles in Amsterdam, Bjarland collects objects such as pieces of furniture, dead house plants, plastic flowers, garden accessories, bits of fences, cat crab posts, floor mobs, broken pipes, building materials, etc. She sees these as leftovers of the materialist society that we live in and important carriers of value and meaning, despite their loss of function. Using approaches and strategies like reappropriation, manipulation and sometimes photographic staging, Bjarlands work is a way of recycling, preserving and caring for the materials she reclaims. It is also a quiet criticism of western consumerism and the enormous waste accumulation that results from it. 

Bjarland likes to think of her studio as a garden where objects gather, cross-pollinate and grow into new hybrid forms and beings, reminiscent of strange plants or creatures. She looks for combinations of objects that ‘talk back to her’. This process is highly intuitive and associative. The relations between the objects and how they function together is important, and she often arranges them into groups or ‘species’, imagining them as inhabitants of a world without humans, where discarded materials start to have a life of their own and become actors or characters.

160 pages, 17 x 24 cm, paperback, Art Paper Editions (Ghent).