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Art for a Healthy Planet 2022

Sharing great art to inspire action for climate, our environment, and biodiversity

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Art for a Healthy Planet 2022

2022

ART 2030

Image above: Bosco Sodi, A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains, Exhibition view at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong (13 February–1 September 2020). © Courtesy the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery.⁠

“This is a planetary emergency. With humanity on the edge of an abyss, and moving in the wrong direction, the world must wake up. Now is the time to restore trust. Now is the time to inspire hope. And I do have hope. The problems we have created are problems we can solve.” – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General


Our world is at crossroads. We face a triple environmental emergency – biodiversity loss, climate disruption and escalating pollution. At this truly unique time in history, we need everyone to shift perspectives and behaviors – and great art can do exactly that.


Art for a Healthy Planet is ART 2030’s annual communications campaign to advocate and raise awareness for the critical issues of climate, biodiversity and health of our planet. On Earth Day, World Environment Day and World Oceans Day, join us as we inspire action for our shared future, with the power of art.

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Images: Bosco Sodi, A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains, Exhibition view at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong (13 February–1 September 2020). © Courtesy the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery.⁠

Bosco Sodi


”More than ever, we need art that can help us reconnect with nature, with ourselves, and with the other humans in order to better understand things.” - Bosco Sodi ⁠

Bosco Sodi is known for his use of raw, natural materials to create large-scale textured paintings and sculptures. His works are a testimony to the artist's ongoing dialogue with nature and landscape, and reflect the temporal nature of life. ⁠

In the past few years, Sodi has turned more to sculpture and the traditions of his Mexican heritage. At his studio Casa Wabi in Oaxaca, Mexico, he extracts raw earth from the ground and combines it with water and sand to form clay. He uses this elemental material, one of ancestral significance, to create sculptures that speak of silence, contemplation, of the passage of time, of nature and humanity's connection to it. ⁠

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Image 1: Cecilia Vicuña: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure. Installation view, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico, February 8 – August 2, 2020. Courtesy the artist; MUAC Mexico City; and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London. Image 2: Cecilia Vicuña, Skyscraper Quipu (Incan quipu performance, New York), 2006. Cotton, dimensions variable. Photo by Matthew Herrmann. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London. Image 3: Cecilia Vicuña, Quipu Menstrual/ Menstrual Quipu, 2006, single channel video, duration: 4 minutes, 12 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

Cecilia Vicuña


"I believe our art and consciousness can play a role in the urgent need to move away from violence anddestruction, to save our environment from impeding collapse... we badly need to find a new way of being inthis Earth." – Cecilia Vicuña


Cecilia Vicuña is a pioneering artist whose work is deeply engaged with — and hasoften anticipated — contemporary conversations around ecology, indigenous stewardship, and human rights.


For more than four decades, her practice has encompassed political activism, films, painting, sculpture, poetry, and performance. Her artistic language rests heavily on the importance of reclaiming ancestral traditions as a tool of resistance, exemplified by raw wool installations and sculptures know as Quipus, which reference the ancient Andean system of recording statistics and stories through a complex knotting of coloured thread.


Vicuña's foresight, strength and awareness of the state of the planet gives her art the tremendous power to unite the past with the present, humanity with nature, and art with poetry. The artist reminds us of our kinship with the natural world, and urge us to reimagine our future, together.

Andy Goldsworthy⁠

Andy Goldsworthy⁠ / Dandelions⁠ / newly flowered⁠ / none as yet turned to seed⁠ / undamaged by wind or rain⁠ / a grass verge between dual carriageways⁠ / Near West Bretton, Yorkshire, April 28, 1987⁠ © Andy Goldsworthy⁠, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York⁠

Andy Goldsworthy⁠


In a vast career spanning four decades, Andy Goldsworthy has become one of the most prominent and iconic contemporary sculptors. In photographs, sculptures, installations, and films, Goldsworthy documents his explorations of the effects of time, the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings, and the beauty in loss and regeneration. ⁠

As the artist has said, "We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we've lost our connection to ourselves." ⁠

Tabita Rezaire

Tabita Rezaire, Holding, 2021. Poet Slash Artist, Kunsthal Charlottenborg Biennale, 2021. ⁠

Tabita Rezaire


Healer, activist and new media artist Tabita Rezaire uses art as a means to unfold the soul, working at the intersection of visual and therapeutic arts and communication sciences. ⁠

In her holistic approach, inspired by ancestral wisdom, she travels down different avenues of creation and healing with the aim of shifting towards heart consciousness. She invites us to free ourselves from oppressive power structures and systems of knowledge inherited from colonialism and patriarchy, and reminds to see, feel, think, intuit, download, know and trust towards the soul. ⁠

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Images: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds), 2020. Powder-coated stainless steel, marble. 635 x 858,6 x 587,1 cm. Photos by Lance Gerber, courtesy Desert X and the artist. ⁠


Alicja Kwade


Alicja Kwade’s sculptural landscapes reflect on the interaction of people and nature, as well as on our relationship with the natural world as a broader philosophical question. ⁠

Her art challenges our perceptions and understanding of the fundamental nature of reality. What makes things what they are—or could everything be totally different?⁠

In ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds), 2020, interlocking frames support large blocks of white marble that appear as ice calved from a distant glacier. Viewers are encouraged to move in and out of the installation and observe how the marble appears to shift from certain angles. This massive, yet fragile universe is Kwade's comment on the instability of perception and the state of the environment. ⁠

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In 2022, we are living the consequences of our broken relationship with nature. We are on a fast track to climate disaster: major cities under water, unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages, and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals. It is time for humanity to make peace with nature for the sake of present and future generations.


Biodiversity refers to all the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) as well as to the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live. Humanity lives off those communities and habitats of other species – trough the oxygen we breathe, the fresh water we drink, the food we eat, and the societies and economies we build.


A healthy planet is not an option – it is a necessity.


According to the United Nations, the degradation of the natural world is already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people, or 40 per cent of humanity. Luckily, the Earth is resilient, but we are rapidly reaching the point of no return for the planet. It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1. 5°C and avert the worst ravages of climate and biodiversity breakdown. Taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.

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Images: Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Berl-Berl (2021). Live simulation (still). Courtesy of the artist; Jakob Kudsk Steensen, 'Berl-Berl' , Halle am Berghain, 2021. © Timo Ohler; Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Berl-Berl (2021). Live simulation (still). Courtesy of the artist.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen


Jakob Kudsk Steensen is working with environmental storytelling, studying and augmenting overlooked, ancient and extinct nature. 


Berl-Berl is an exhibition and online world, examining a swamp and its ecosystem, history and myths. The work pays tribute to Berlin’s origin as a wetland that formed more than 10,000 years ago, and was drained in the 1700s.


The artist spent months working in the remaining wetlands of Berlin-Brandenburg, building an extensive image archive using the method of macro photogrammetry, in which he takes hundreds of images of a single object such as a leaf or a patch of mud. He then renders his findings in a 3D plan to create an immersive, absolute landscape using a video game platform, making us reflect on the condition and future of our planet.


Berl-Berl has returned in a new form at the ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, and will be on view through October 23, 2022.

Michelle Stuart

Sayreville Strata Quartet, 1976, Earth from different strata layers from site, Sayreville, New Jersey, on muslin-mounted rag paper, Collection Dia Art Foundation, New York

Michelle Stuart


Since the 1960s, Michelle Stuart has created a multifaceted body of work that defies easy categorization, shifting between large-scale Earthworks, collage, drawings, photography, and sculpture. Stuart has devoted her decades-long practice to recording and studying traces upon the earth, whether by nature or by human hand, as imprints of identity. Stuart maps the passage of time and space, retrieving histories as much as she makes us aware of their irretrievability.


She often utilizes organic materials such as earth, beeswax, and plant matter, rubbing them against paper or transforming them into objects with talismanic aura. Even when working with photography, she continues to perceive it as an imprinting process, frequently researching and re-photographing old prints to recall forgotten moments in history.

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Images: Otobong Nkanga, Unearthed – Sunlight, 2021. Istallation view, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria, 2021. Photos: Markus Tretter. Courtesy of the artist.

Otobong Nkanga


How do we think about the ground we walk on, how to heal and protect it? Otobong Nkanga’s work tells the (hi)story of the elements earth and water.


The Earth’s survival is reliant on water. Otobong Nkanga conveys such a message in four vibrant, large-scale tapestries depicting the entanglement between land and ocean. Here is the work ‘Unearthed – Sunlight’ exhibited at Kunsthaus Bregenz.


Otobong Nkanga’s drawings, installations, photographs, sculptures and performances examine the social and topographical relationship with our everyday environment. By exploring the notion of land as a place of non-belonging, Nkanga provides an alternative meaning to the social ideas of identity.

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Images: El Anatsui, Stitch in Time, 2012, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp

El Anatsui


El Anatsui’s works are composed with materials that were once designated for another purpose. Over the past decade, Anatsui has focussed on large, tapestry-like metal sculptures that are delicately constructed from thousands of colourful liquor caps. He reworks and rearranges found objects, transforming materials into something new without them losing their own history. His work could be described as a collage of discarded memories.


His work interrogates the history of colonialism and draws connections between consumption, waste and the environment. But at the core of Anatsui’s work is his unique formal language that distinguishes his practice.

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Images: “Wheatfield – A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan,” 1982. © Agnes Denes, courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

Agnes Denes


In 1982, Agnes Denes created one of the most significant artworks in New York City history, 'Wheatfield – A Confrontation', a two-acre wheat field that was planted on the landfill that would eventually become Battery Park City, two blocks from Wall Street and the World Trade Center, facing the Statue of Liberty.


The ephemeral artwork was a meditation on the tension between the man-made and the natural environment, but also an experiment in urban farming that was a solid 30 years ahead of its time. It referred to ecological concerns and called attention to our misplaced priorities.


Denes’ boldness has made her, and especially her 'Wheatfield' project, more necessary than ever. As the artist says, “The time is short. (…) Creativity and innovation is the answer in a troubled world of swing and pendulum. Be creative. Never stop. Creativity is hope.”

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John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea, 2015, view of the installation. © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy Lisson Gallery

John Akomfrah


In a monumental three screen installation, and through incredible visuals, John Akomfrah's 'Vertigo Sea' is a meditation on humankind's relationship with the sea, and its role in the history of slavery, migration, trade and conflict.


It brings the beauty and vitality of marine life into contrast with the destruction of animal and human life on the oceans and surrounding coastlines over the centuries. The work forces us to reflect on the life sustaining qualities of the ocean and compels us to change destructive habits.


John Akomfrah is a hugely respected artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

'Sea of Japan, Oki, 1987' by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Hiroshi Sugimoto


"Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention ― and yet they vouchsafe our very existence."


Since 1980, Hiroshi Sugimoto has traveled around the world — from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea — to photograph the tranquil horizon line where the sea meets the sky. The 'Seascapes' series, which includes over 200 black-and-white photographs, is a testament to Sugimoto’s meditative and rigorous effort to capture the earth’s most basic elements.


His masterful photographs exemplify both the craftsman’s will to visual beauty and perfection, and an incisive exploration of philosophical notions of space and time, imagination and reality, science and history.


Today we celebrate the oceans, and their lifegiving qualities. We need to preserve and restore the oceans to sustain life as we know it.

Ana Teresa Fernández

Ana Teresa Fernández, 'On The Horizon', 2021; installation image at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Photo: Colectivo.

Ana Teresa Fernández


On The Horizon by Ana Teresa Fernández comprises 16 cylindrical pillars, each measuring 6 feet / 1,8 meters tall and filled with water from the Pacific Ocean – a nod to the expected rise in sea levels within the next century, which threatens coastal communities locally and globally.


We human beings who call this ocean planet home are key protagonists in the plot and pacing of this tale. Individual actions will have everything to do with how our collective story unfolds.


Walking among the pillars one can experience how much the oceans will rise, and only imagine what effects it will have on life by the shores. Now is the time to act.

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