In her series The Spectacle of Nature, Lila Khosrovian draws attention to the absurdity of the experience of nature outside of nature itself, in places where people have attempted to create a realistic version of the wild. Her pictures do nothing to hide the obvious signs of the human hand; instead, they highlight the ways in which this endeavor is ridiculous. Khosrovian uses a harsh flash to destroy the illusion of reality, and a blue/green tone makes the situations look all the more unnatural. The diptychs throughout the series draw various similarities between two scenes, often one outside and one inside a natural history museum diorama. In each image, it’s difficult to find something that’s not been manipulated.

From the artist’s statement: Nature has its own unremitting cycle. She needs no settings, no embellishment. But Americans are no ordinary people. And they did not build such an empire on average representations for satisfactory feelings sake. They hit hard and they went for the extraordinary, the amazing, the incredible… They may have one of the most impressive industries of entertainment and excel in transforming mundane into spectacular. I came across a few places where entertainment had been built around nature. Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Nature Themed Parks, Natural History Museums, and I was amazed at how much care and creativity was put into building outstanding settings to fit these expositions. 

Murals narrate stories of the wild jungle, there are sounds here and there of a bird that isn’t there, subtle lights, sophisticated scenery recreating with impressive accuracy the original surroundings of the animal, the plant we’re observing. Plastic plants stand alongside real animals, real flowers accompany embalmed animals. The spectacle of nature is offered manipulated by human hands, in all the glory it can have, in a cage. 

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