Can art change the climate? Of course! It could make us aware and ring some bells in case we actually all decide in a coherent effort to do something about the issue of global climate change. More and more each day, contemporary artists from around the globe respond to the issue of global climate change in their own, unique way. An impressive example of such work is displayed at the major international exhibition of environmental and climate change-related art in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, all this could not have been possible if The National Gallery of Denmark, Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art, Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, and the Alexandra Institute had not joined forces.
RETHINK // Contemporary Art and Climate Change opened on October 31, 2009 and is running along with the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP15 that is taking place in Copenhagen from December 7-18. The purpose of the exhibition is to help provide politicians attending the conference, as well as the general public, with new perspectives on some of the complex human issues generating from global climate change.
The exhibition features the works of 26 trend-setting Nordic and international artists who are currently displaying their work at some of Denmark’s finest art institutions, creating a medium for the general public as well as the politicians to seize the complicated climate issues. All 26 artists who are featured in RETHINK share the same vision and fundamental aim at rethinking the relationships in which we take part.
Through the works of the exhibition we become aware of new possible relations with the world around us and prompt a more acute awareness of the contexts which we are part and can affect. For instance, Argentinean artist Tomas Saraceno dissolves the spaces and boundaries we know, letting nature and culture merge in his biospheres which, like a kind of alternative social spaces or globes, seem able to take flight, floating freely above all national boundaries.
Olafur Eliasson’s installation creates a situation where our senses activate our cognition and lead us to new insights through a new relation between ourselves and the work of art. Allora & Calzadilla’s film with its startling combinations of different, images, sounds, and meanings points to a potential that is both political and poetic and which reflecting a new global reality. Henrik Håkansson astounds us with enlarged details of nature; details we overlook in our everyday lives. These are just few of the talented and trend-setting artists whose work shares the same vision.
Henrik Håkansson (SE)
7. aug, 2009, 2009
Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Statens Museum for Kunst
Four distinct sections of the exhibition emphasize 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 Kakotopia considers the possibility of a future with catastrophic climate changes and RETHINK Information deals with new technologies and how to use them to understand climate changes. RETHINK is nominated the “Nordic Exhibition of the Year 2009-2010″ by the Nordic Culture Fund and will tour several cities in the Nordic countries within 2010.
Tea Mäkipää (FI)
Photo: The artist
Eric Andersen (DK)
Photo: Anders Sune Berg
RETHINK Relations // National Gallery of Denmark, 31/October/2009 - 5/April/2010.
Featured artist: Tomas Saraceno (AR), Olafur Eliasson (IS/DK), Henrik Håkansson (SE), Allora & Calzadilla (US/CU).
RETHINK The Implicit // Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, 31/October/2009 - 27/December/2009.
Featured artist: Elin Hansdottir (IS), Thilo Frank (DE), Henrik Håkansson (SE), Bright Ugochukwu Eke (NG), Kerstin Ergenzinger (DE), Tove Storck (DK).
RETHINK Kakotopia // Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, 31/October - 10/January/2010.
Featured artist: Lise Autogena (DK) and Joshua Portway (UK), Bill Burns (CA), The Icelandic Love Corporation (IS), Eric Andersen (DK), Superflex (DK), Tea Mäkipää (FI), Haubitz + Zoche (DE), Tue Greenfort (DK), Cornelia Parker (UK), Ruri (IS), Superflex (DK), Fiona Tan (ID/NL).
RETHINK Information // Moesgaard Museum www.rethinkclimate.org and in public spaces, from 31 October 2009.
Featured artist: Jette Gejl (DK), Parfyme (DK), Janine Randerson (NZ), The People Speak (UK).
Thilo Frank (DE)
Vertical Skip, 2009
Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Den Frie Udstillingsbygning
Jette Gejl (DK)
Hyperkinetic Kayak, 2009
Photo: Martin Ravn