A truly amazing exhibit is currently tucked away on the fourth floor of the Wynwood Lofts that is not for the faint of smell. Open the door to the Charest-Weinberg Gallery and you will be overwhelmed, some even overcome, by the intense stench that emanates from the decaying remnants of the sea that are crusted on 80 rubber tires retrieved from a failed artificial reef off the Fort Lauderdale coast.
It is a multisensory eco-exhibit called “Eclipse” from Berlin artist Hannes Bend, which includes video, loud sound, the piled up tires and the smell.
Let’s back up to the origins of this complex work. Bend was born close to the Baltic Sea in northern Germany and has always been fascinated by marine life. He came to Miami for a residency at the Fountainhead and learned about the Osborne Reef, a defunct man-made reef that started off way back in 1972 with good intentions. Like boats and ships that are sunk to foster coral reefs, a Broward company thought that dumping literally millions of car tires into the ocean could serve two purposes: get rid of junk and promote marine life. It didn’t work.
After getting permits and jumping hoops, Bend and gallery director Eric Charest-Weinberg took a diving crew out to the site and dredged up these remnants. On the walls are videos from Bend, relating to water, sky — our environment here and in Berlin — and with human’s interventions into it (cars, planes, industrial debris). The experience in the gallery is both enlightening and depressing. We seem to have a true love-hate relationship with nature, the exhibit suggests — as much as we delve into its beauty and its awesomeness, we seem bent on destroying it. We can’t help contaminating everything around us, even when we are trying to save it.
Since its recent opening, this has been a well-received show, and rightfully so.
“Eclipse” runs through June 2 at Charest-Weinberg Gallery, 250 N.W. 23rd St., #408; call 305-292-0411 or email@example.com for appointment; www.charestweinberg.com.