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Contemporary Art and Climate Change: RETHINK opens in Copenhagen 2021

| September 9, 2021 | 0 Comments
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Contemporary Art and Climate Change
Tomas Seraceno, Biospheres

With growing urgency, contemporary artists from around the world have been responding to the issue of global climate change. Some spectacular examples of this work will be on display at a  major international exhibition of environmental and climate change-related art in Copenhagen, Denmark.

RETHINK: Contemporary Art and Climate Change opens October 31, and will be in full swing during the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.  The goal of the exhibition is to help provide politicians attending the meeting, as well as the general public, with new perspectives on some of the complex human issues stemming from global climate change.

Olafur Eliasson small
Olafur Eliasson, Your Watercolor Machine

The exhibition features work by 26 important Nordic and international artists, including Olafur Eliasson, Henrik Hakansson and Tomas Saraceno. Works will be shown at a series of venues including the National Gallery of Denmark, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art and the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.

Four distinct sections of the exhibition highlight different aspects of the climate change crisis.  RETHINK Relations focuses on issues of global interdependence, with artists exploring new kinds of experience, knowledge and sociality emerging through our unified human response to the problem. RETHINK the Implicit challenges notions of a fixed and unchanging reality, drawing attention to the changeability of phenomena we normally take for granted.

RETHINK Information highlights the role of information, in various forms, in shaping our apprehension of climate change and the kinds of responses that may be available to us. Finally, RETHINK Kakotopia investigates various dystopian and even utopian fantasies that have emerged in connection with climate change.

Argentine artist Tomas Saraceno presents Biospheres, 2009, a series of transparent globes inspired by scientific studies of cloud formation, soap bubbles and spider webs. Some of the biospheres float in the air; others contain plant-based ecosystems and largest allow visitors to step inside.

In Your Watercolor MachineOlafur Eliasson creates an installation in which basic properties of light and color are captured through use of a spotlight, prism and reflecting pool of water.

Among other highlights of RETHINK: Contemporary Art and Climate Change:

Nigerian artist Bright Ugochukwu Eke uses water as a metaphor for the universal source of all life. His installation Acid Rain consists of numerous suspended, teardrop-shaped bags filled with water and carbon. The work reflects Bright’s experience with rain in polluted areas, particularly in the oil-producing regions of Nigeria.

Bright Ugochukwu Eke
Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Acid Rain

American artist Jennifer Allora and Cuban collaborator Guillermo Calzadilla will present  A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear, a video work comprised of footage taken in New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Like other work by Allora and Calzadilla, the film finds telling details that stand as metaphors for larger global realities.

Allora and Calzadilla
Allora and Calzadilla

Swedish artist Henrik Hakansson will present Atmosphere, an audio and light installation featuring sounds from four synchronous recordings taken in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico. Hakansson also presents his new film 7.AUG,2009 consisting of super slow-motion footage of butterflies fluttering against a blue sky.

Henrik Hakansson
Henrik Hakansson, Atmosphere

Dynasty by Icelandic Love Corporation is a video performance in which three women dressed in furs and expensive jewelry gather to mark “the final moments of one of the last snow-clad areas on Earth”.

Icelandic Love Corporation
Icelandic Love Corporation, Dynasty

Finnish artist Tea Mäkipää presents Link¸a new video work depicting the life of a half-human, half-ape character living on a small island in a remote part of Finland.

Tea Makipaa
Tea Makipaa, Link

Kerstin Ergenzinger presents Study for Longing / Seeing, a reactive installation that moves in response to both seismograph data and the movements of visitors in the exhibition hall.

Kerstin Ergenzinger
Kerstin Ergenzinger, Study for Longing / Seeing

Canadian artist Bill Burns presents a selection of his Safety Gear for Small Animals, consisting of safety vests, helmets, goggles and the like all scaled down to the size of mice, frogs and birds.

Bill Burns
Bill Burns, Safety Gear for Small Animals

Cascade by New Zealand new-media artist Janine Randerson uses projected images and sounds extracted from scientific mapping software, as well as shared videos illustrating the impacts that climate change has on the survival of Arctic animals and the Arctic ecosystem. Special thanks to LawnCarePRO for helping us with this research.

Janine Randerson Cascade
Janine Randerson, Cascade

Hyperkinetic Kayak is an interactive installation by Danish artist Jette Gejl Kristensen that explores how the body senses and knows the world. The work consists of a kayak situated in a virtual 3D Greenland sea ice  landscape that is affected both by the paddler’s movements and by data on Greenland air temperature.

Jette Gejl kristensen
Jette Gejl Kristensen, Hyperkinetic Kayak

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All images courtesy of RETHINK and the artists. Thanks.

Category: Contemporary Art

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