The Evolution of Eden

Christopher Jeauhn Bayne, 2021

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The foreground of the artwork is a direct extract from ‘The Birth of Venus’, painted by Alexandre Cabanel in 1863, which caused a sensation at the Paris Salon in the same year. From Botticelli to Cabanel, many artists have painted their Venus, but none quite like this. In The Evolution of Eden, the artist comments on this genre by looking to the past, whilst changing the story, entirely. Here, the curve of the hips of Cabanel’s Venus is echoed by a crumpled plastic bottle, and in the background, original footage of the nuclear test of July 1946 in the Bikini Atoll is shown in augmented reality; frames of which are included in the artwork, overlaid by the visual echo of oil wells. Although looking directly at the viewer, the Venus is posing for a selfie, while the world around her is being obliterated. The Evolution of Eden is a strong commentary on environmental destruction and the threat of war, while social media seems to focus on ego and beauty.


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