New Museum presents Daiga Grantina, What Eats Around Itself. The title of the exhibition refers to the dynamic properties of lichen, a composite organism that results from the symbiosis between fungi and algae. Grantina draws inspiration from lichen’s many adaptive qualities, like coexistence and self-replication, to devise her material processes.
Grantina’s sculptures also draw from the lyricism of poet Rainer Maria Rilke and his profound interest in the rose, which he viewed as an emblem of promise, possibility, and the power of art to give life deeper meaning. On his gravestone, Rilke’s self-composed epitaph reads, “Rose, oh pure contradiction, desire / to be no one’s sleep under so many / lids.” The central forms in Grantina’s installation resemble both rose petals and eyelids, evoking Rilke’s manifold interpretations of the flower as a conduit between vitality and sleep, life and death.