It began with the family farm. When Monica Haller’s father sold the land a few years ago, he took a pile of the rich, fertile soil with him, inspiring Haller to dig deeper into the history and science of soil.
Haller created Beneath the Ground while serving as the MIA’s artist-in-residence during 2013–14, digging into the museum’s collection and the earth itself to pair artworks with soil samples. The connections she makes reexamine soil not just as a valuable natural resource but as a symbol of land ownership and development.
Beneath the Ground offers new insights into the MIA’s collection while bridging the difference between human and geological time. Our lives and the life of the planet, Haller suggests, intersect beneath the ground in ways we’ve rarely considered.
Christopher Atkins, Coordinator, Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), in collaboration with artist Monica Haller.
Beneath the Ground, the larger project from which this installation derives, was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.