Absence and loss can be tricky concepts to convey in visual art, but sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen has found a way. In her 2011 sculpture Luola (Cave), Kaulanen uses industrial materials and modern technology to affectingly express the disappearance of the natural world. To highlight the loss of plant species in her native Finland, Kaulanen built a three-sided structure of stainless steel and used lasers to cut the shapes of plants in danger of extinction. She uses lights to throw the silhouettes of the plants onto the surrounding walls, creating an effect of shadows, or shades, like the ghosts of dead flowers. Visitors can enter the cave, combining their shadows with those of the plants, as a reminder that one day, we too will be gone.
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