Elena Willis, Isabelle Hayeur Biophilia Reimagined

ELLEPHANT ⁠ not_accessible
1010 Queen St W
Entrance on Ossington

The biophilia hypothesis, popularized by Edward O. Wilson, suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. The photographs in Biophilia Reimagined depict this relationship while echoing current changes in our landscape and psyche. Isabelle Hayeur and Elena Willis create haunting photographs in which the awe of nature is palpable, and human involvement is indisputable. Their large-scale prints enable the viewer to connect with the natural world on both a visceral and intellectual level. Hayeur’s underwater images expose what is usually hidden from view, while Willis seeks to bring forth the images hidden in her mind.

Hayeur submerges her camera and captures arguably the most fundamental and undervalued compound required for life: H2O. Her series Underworlds documents the effects of urbanization and industrialization on the declining state of water.

Willis’ photographs enter our unconscious through their dreamlike and open-ended narratives, and mirror what Wilson describes as “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.” Willis creates her art without the use of Photoshop or other digital interventions, constructing and directing the scenes in front of the camera in order to strengthen the illusion of reality.


Curated by Christine Redfern