Introduction .................................4 Partners’ statements................... 6 Kim Abeles...................................8 Ander Azpiri...............................10 Subhankar Banerjee..................12 Sarah Agnes James....................14 Charley Case..............................16 Meschac Gaba............................18 Anita Glesta................................20 Yolanda Gutiérrez .....................22 Perla Krauze...............................32 Mélodie Mousset & Zachary Sharrin......................34 Nnenna Okore...........................36 Betsabeé Romero..................... .38 Ursula Scherrer......................... 40 Roman Signer.............................42 George Steinmann.....................44 Frances Whitehead....................46 Insa Winkler...............................48 ARTPORT_making waves...........50 Press............................................51
Introduction (Re-)Cycles of Paradise is an exhibition that was curated and produced by ARTPORT_making waves to explore the complex and multifaceted relationship between gender and climate change. In 2009, the ARTPORT curators were invited by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA, gender-climate.org) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to organize an exhibition that called attention to this topic during the 2009 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP 15, in Copenhagen. COP 15 had all the world's eyes and hopes on it, and (Re-)Cycles of Paradise compelled visitors to take a closer look at an issue that had become increasingly important in the climate discourse: the link between the effects of climate change on women’s lives, the importance of gender equality, and women as agents of change. The concept of Paradise in this exhibition straddles the notions of myths about gender roles, and the hypothesis that the world is, by necessity, the only possible paradise that we can create and conserve. In nearly all societies, cultures, and religions, the woman stands for the creation of life, for nurturing and care-taking. And yet, despite these powerful, mythical attributes, women are not only suffering from social and economic inequalities but from the consequences of nature thrown out of balance. ARTPORT_making waves invited artists from all over the world who engage in social justice and sustainability to create works that emphasize the correlation between these social and environmental imbalances. Exploring reasons and manifestations of the interdependences between gender roles and climate change, the artists' works illustrate the effects of our behavior and propose innovative ways to recreate a
new and more sustainable paradise.Various sub-themes of the gender and climate debate like mitigation, adaptation, financial incentives, and technological development are woven into the poetic, interpretative, narrative, and documentary approaches of the artists. The artists examine the vulnerability and strength of women; the control, or lack thereof, by women over resources; the consequences of forced migration; illnesses affecting women; and the resilience of women as they face these difficulties in the context of climate change. An empowered image of the woman emerges, showing how her skills and knowledge can transform her life, so she can contribute to a more emancipated, sustainable, and future-oriented society. A diverse range of techniques and media, including painting, video, performance, and interactive installation were applied in order to interpret, transform, and question scientific information and data through artistic means. ARTPORT_making waves took into consideration the effects on the environment and natural resources when realizing the exhibition. Many artworks were made of recycled or found material and were produced on location or with low carbon footprint such as video; all the equipment was re-used or recycled. When the exhibition was traveling, artists from the respective country of our exhibition partners were included.
PAR TICIPATING AR TISTS:
Kim Abeles U.S. Ander Azpiri Mexico Subhankar Banerjee India/U.S. Charley Case Belgium/Spain Meschac Gaba Benin/Netherlands Anita Glesta U.S. Yolanda Gutiérrez Mexico Perla Krauze Mexico Mélodie Mousset & Zachary Sharrin Switzerland/U.S. Nnenna Okore Nigeria/U.S. Betsabeé Romero Mexico Ursula Scherrer Switzerland/U.S. Roman Signer Switzerland George Steinmann Switzerland Frances Whitehead U.S. Insa Winkler Germany EXIBITION LOCATIONS:
United Nations Climate Conference COP15: DGI-byen, Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009 United Nations Climate Conference COP16: Spanish Cultural Center, Mexico City, November 11 2010January 9, 2011 Jardín Borda, Sala de Exposición Siqueiros, Cuernavaca, March 11-April 11, 2011
Corinne Erni and Anne-Marie Melster Co-Founders, ARTPORT_making waves; Curators, (Re-)Cycles of Paradise
Museum of Sciences of Morelos, Cuernavaca, Mexico, August 2September 2, 2011 LACE, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, October 25-December 16, 2013
Partners’ statements “In (Re-) Cycles of Paradise, art is a vehicle for social change inspiring the public to recognize that women are central to climate change solutions. Time to act is now—to include women in decision making, value their knowledge on sustainability and their role in building community resilience. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as a founding member of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), is proud to collaborate with ARTPORT to demonstrate an array of internationally acclaimed artists’ interpretations on gender and human dimensions of climate change.”
M. Sc. Lorena Aguilar Revelo Global Senior Gender Adviser, IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature On the occasion of COP15, United Nations Climate Conference, Copenhagen, December 2009
“In 2011, CINEMA PLANETA, the International Environmental Film Festival in Mexico, had the pleasure to collaborate with ARTPORT_making waves and to present the exhibition (Re-) Cycles of Paradise as part of the film festival in Cuernavaca. The exhibition at the Museum Jardín Borda added a new dimension to our festival by taking a look at environmental issues through contemporary art. We were pleased to welcome thousands of visitors in one month. The interrelation between women and climate change is a topic of great importance in a country like Mexico. The role of women, especially the responsibility for their family and their surroundings, has always been central to our culture. Due to recent socio-political developments in Mexico, women have been the prime victims of crime, unprotected by their society. As a consequence, their families and communities—and the environment in a larger context—are suffering too. The exhibition was pivotal in making a point about the impact that women can have on the environment through their commitment to a more emancipated, sustainable, and constructive future. The artists revealed both the vulnerability and strength of women as they face climate change. Each work represented a specific key idea about how women deal with these issues, from droughts, lack of clean water to polluted air as cause for illnesses like breast cancer. We were particularly excited about the opportunity to make young people aware of this acute environmental and social problem through a high quality, interactive exhibition—certainly one of the most important contemporary art exhibitions that we have seen so far in Cuernavaca. The visitors' feedback was sublime and gave a glimpse of hope for change.
Eleonora Isunza de Pech Co-Founder and Co-Director CINEMA PLANETA International Environmental Film Festival Cuernavaca and Mexico City, Mexico
Since its inception in 2003, and particularly since striking a fruitful partnership with the Swiss Arts
Council Pro Helvetia in 2008, swissnex San Francisco has investigated intersections between the arts and the organization's prime area of focus, science and technology. By doing so, it has developed a consistent program of exhibitions and events that have rapidly gained footing beyond its downtown San Francisco base through a swath of global partnerships with arts and science institutions.
While successful both in terms of sheer density and diversity in themes and disciplines, the program inevitably had to deal with (and, one hopes, occasionally resolved) issues any institution involved in artsci/art-tech programs encounters at some point: how to bring subjects deemed mostly appropriate for symposiums and conferences into a complex context of exhibitions, how to break out of overly technophile and push-button exhibition formats, and how to resolve the opposition between hyper-narrative and hyper-abstract show scenarios? Jumping on board with the ARTPORT_making waves team to show (Re-) Cycles of Paradise on the U.S. West Coast presented a welcome challenge to how broadly we could conceive of our own programs. But mostly it provided an opportunity to see how themes like the interdependence of gender roles and climate change— clearly a good fit for swissnex but better suited for conferences—could fare when explored through contemporary art. We are thankful to ARTPORT's Corinne Erni, Anne-Marie Melster and original co-conspirator Oliver Tschirky for throwing this gauntlet at us. From formal and material explorations and symbolic puns to performance and documentationoriented installations, I believe that (Re-) Cycles of Paradise indeed managed to successfully relocate issues that tend to be perceived through the lenses of "soft science" and "hard science" but are deserving of more complex and personal narratives. These “stories” are not fleeting or abstract but rather draw a much larger, very concrete, and wholly engrossing interpretative space in which they can exist. It is hardly a coincidence that the show found a home at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), which for over 30 years has been among the most adventurous and protean art centers in a city that is currently undergoing its most exciting fluxes ever. After collaborations of a more contained nature, LACE chose to take its relationship with swissnex SF an ambitious step forward, and I am grateful to the organization, its staff, and in particular Carol Stakenas, Robert Crouch, and Geneva Skeen, for making this possible. Given swissnex San Francisco's mission and its funding structure, we are bound to maintain a certain ratio of meaningful "swissness" in each of our projects. In the case of (Re-) Cycles of Paradise, ARTPORT, LACE and our office went far beyond polite quota-filling to strengthen the show with contributions by acclaimed Swiss artists Mélodie Mousset, Ursula Scherrer, Roman Signer, and George Steinmann. Combined with new work by Los Angeles' Kim Abeles and an already highquality selection of works from previous iterations of the show in Copenhagen and Mexico, this Californian (Re-) Cycles was a thoughtfully expanded version of the original concept. Obviously, none of this would have been possible without the constant support and belief in the project by our mandate partner, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Presence Switzerland and its U.S. program, ThinkSwissBrainstorm the Future, and our colleagues at the Consulate General of Switzerland in Los Angeles—all of whom recognized the value of this project and helped us bring it to the West Coast. We are thankful to them. Luc Meier Associate Director and Head of Public Program, swissnex San Francisco (2008-2012) Project Head, Under One Roof at EPFL Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
THE AR TISTS AND THEIR WORKS
Women and Water 2012, 40.6 × 68.6 cm Mixed media: 20 video monitors, multiple photographs embedded in muralsize image of water and bubbles.
WOMEN AND WATER at LACE
“Art that provides a viewer with riveting portrayals of nature or society serves to re-engage a person with the physical world; this is where positive change has a possibility to take place. If one does not love the world, that same person will not imagine a need to protect it.” In some parts of the world, women spend as much as six hours a day carrying water. Kim Abeles created a site-specific video wall, “Women and Water,” to physically express— in scale and time—the enormity of this task. Abeles photographed water bubbles and enlarged them 16 times, then created a large wall of water. Video monitors embedded behind the paper and stills from the videos completed the imagery with numerous portrayals of water—from the waterways of Suzhou, China, to cooking on an open fire with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, to the Niagara Falls. Presented in pairs, each video on the left played as real time. The adjacent monitor showed the same footage with one minute extended to six hours, the journey’s length to carry the water. SILHOUETTES IN SMOG at COP15 and COP16
“Silhouettes of women’s portraits, translated in smog, will be created and accumulated until governmental support for intervention is acknowledged.” “Silhouettes in Smog” included “Smog Collectors,” representing the number of women who die every year of breast cancer due in large part to environmentally related illnesses. In 2010, 1.5 million individuals were diagnosed with breast cancer; this is nearly 1 in 4 women worldwide. “Smog Collectors” is a method to make images from the polluted air to encourage dialogue about the issues. Abeles places stencil images on transparent materials, then leaves these on the roof of her studio and lets the particulate matter fall upon them; when the stencil is removed the image is made from the particulate in the polluted air we breathe.
Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
Silhouettes in Smog 2009, 40 pieces, 30 × 30 cm each Mixed media: smog on recycled, handmade paper Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11 Photo: CCEMX
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
“Shared Skies” series, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (2014); “Ignite! The Art of Sustainability,” University of California Davis Design Museum, Davis, CA, a project of the Green Museums initiative of the California Association of Museums (touring California: 2012-14); Syo Gallery, Daegu, South, Korea (2012); The Public, West Bromwich, West Midlands, U.K. (2009). Abeles represented the U.S. in the Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam (1992) and the Cultural Centre of Berchem in Antwerp (1993). Select Group Exhibitions
“XYZN Scale,” Art Gallery, SIGGRAPH 2013, Anaheim Convention Center, CA (2013); “Swept Away: Dust, Ashes and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design,“ Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2012). Awards
Andy Warhol Foundation, Peter Norton Foundation. Fellowships
Guggenheim; J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, Pollack-Krasner Foundation, California Arts Council. kimabeles.com
Kim Abeles has collaborated with the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Air Quality Management District, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Science Center, and Natural History museums in California and Colorado, using art to encourage discussion. Her environmental work started in the 1980s, exploring auto emissions and seeing nature through smog. Her work ranges from tarot card-style information about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention, to lichens as biomonitors for smog. As a breast cancer survivor, she thinks often about the influence of the environment on health. In 1987, she experimented with a method to make images from the particulate in the polluted air we breathe—the “Smog Collector” series, for which she is best known. The process has been taught in schools, and Abeles authored the Environmental Activity Book (1995). In 2012, she completed another family activity book and health cards about holistic living and nutrition for the T.H.E. Clinic in South Los Angeles. Abeles’ journals, artists books, and process documents are archived at the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. “Kim Abeles: Encyclopedia Persona A-Z” toured the United States and South America.
Ander Azpiri LA SUBIDA DEL NIVEL DEL AGUA (RISING WATER LEVEL)
La Subida del Nivel del Agua (Rising Water Level) 2010, 4 × 2 m Mixed media: wood branches, insects (bees, butterflies) Installation view CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11.
“Many events have an influence on our actions and attitudes. I try to make poetic statements about different ways to inhabit this world, understanding it as a complex and changing system of related processes. The sculpture ‘La Subida del Nivel del Agua’ (‘Rising Water Level’) makes an allusion to death and the possibility to be reborn. It is a kind of silence after disaster, where little insects are trapped in a chaotic environment. Nevertheless, butterflies are known for their transformation ability, and bees for their collective work.” Ander Azpiri’s photographs, drawings, installations, and sculptures focus on nature and biomimicry as an artistic means to reflect on human activities. He often uses found material like tree branches, seeds, feathers, and industrial objects, as well as dead animals—insects, snakes, and birds—for his installations as a continuing research on organic growth and survival strategies that serve as models for human behavior. For example, he’s interested in how plants distinguish external conditions in order to bloom. These are metaphors for our daily struggle and our continuous attempt at keeping a balance.
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
“Transitions,” ArtPace San Antonio (2013); “Habitat,” Alcorcón Center for the Arts, Madrid (2011); “Environment and Dwelling,” ArtSur Foundation, Madrid (2011); “The Horizon,” Mexican Institute in Spain, Madrid (2009); “Phytogenous,” Trama Gallery, Madrid (2007).
Ander Azpiri is an artist based in Mexico City. He has exhibited worldwide and is a member of the National Artists System (2013-2015) of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in Mexico.
Select Group Exhibitions
“Urban Conscience,” Andrés Siegel Gallery, Mexico City (2012); “Residents,” Art Madrid Contemporary Art Fair (2010).
Video: Features Sarah Agnes James, Chairperson of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, gwichinsteeringcommittee.org Photographs: Caribou Migration I, Oil and The Caribou, 2002, 214 × 168 cm, Digital C-Print
WE ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE EVER YTHING TO LOSE at COP15, COP16, and LACE
Subhankar Banerjee created the photography and video installation, “We Are The Ones Who Have Everything To Lose,” to highlight the hardship of the Gwich'in people in Alaska due to climate change. The installation includes large-scale photographs documenting pregnant females of the Porcupine River caribou herds as they migrate over frozen rivers and high mountains to reach the Arctic coastal plain for calving. Their long migration connect fifteen Gwich'n villages in Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Territories through subsistence food harvest. Because of the melting ice, the pregnant female caribous often are no longer able to cross those rivers and die along the way. Caribous are the livelihood of the Gwich'in, who use everything from the skin, meat, and bones of the animal. Some of the photographs document hunting scenes of the Gwich'in. The title of the installation comes from an essay by Sarah Agnes James, an activist and native Gwich'in from Alaska. Banerjee invited her to Copenhagen for COP15 and filmed her as she talked about her people’s reliance on the caribou, their struggle to oppose oil and gas development in the caribou calving ground, and their efforts to educate the public about climate change. The video is now part of the installation and offers the opportunity to experience climate change first hand through James’ charismatic personality.
Caribou Migration III, Oil and The Caribou, 2002, 214 × 168 cm, Digital C-Print Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
Amon Carter Museum of American Art (2011); SoFA Gallery at Indiana University (2010); CoalMine Gallery, Winterthur, Switzerland, and Hopkins Center for Arts, Dartmouth College (2009); Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (2007). Select Group Exhibitions
18th Biennale of Sydney (2012). Publications
Subhankar Banerjee, ed., Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point (Seven Stories Press, 2012); Yates McKee, “Of Survival: Climate Change and Uncanny Landscape in the Photography of Subhankar Banerjee,” in Impasses of the Post-Global: Theory in the Era of Climate Change (Open Humanities Press, 2012); essays by Banerjee appeared in the Biennale of Sydney catalogue, and Third Text species issue Art and the Politics of Ecology.
Subhankar Banerjee is an Indian-born American photographer, writer and activist. His photographs have been exhibited in more than fifty museums and galleries, and were shown at the 18th Biennale of Sydney. Banerjee has received many awards, including Greenleaf Artist Award from UNEP and Cultural Freedom Fellowship from Lannan Foundation, and has published several books. His residencies include Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Artist in Residence at Dartmouth College, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fordham University.
WE AR E T H E O N E S W H O HAV E EVE R Y T H IN G T O L O S E
“I say we came a long ways. We
still got long ways to go, for our children who are not born yet and for our Elders who are not here today. I’m from the Gwich’in Nation, located in northeast Alaska. I live in Arctic Village, which is about 115 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We live in cabins. We don’t have running water. I live off the land. I grew up off the land, and my parents raised me up without any cash or pay. No eight-hours-a-day work. We lived on the land, and that’s how I grew up. From the time I was very young, I remember my father going out hunting. He had a trapline up on the Salmon (Sheenjek in Gwich’in language) River, a hundred miles from his nearest neighbor. I had seven brothers and sisters, and we had to work to survive. I helped with chores every day. I cut wood, snared rabbits, and fished for grayling. Sometimes I’d go beaver snaring with my father, to help him and to learn the way. I never went to school until I was thirteen. I learned from living out in the wilderness, our natural world. It’s a good life—fishing, hunting, and gathering berries and roots. We never got bored. In fall we had ice skating and fishing. In winter we played in snowdrifts. And in the evenings my older brother, Gideon, would read to us. My dad would make snowshoes and toboggans and harnesses— everything that we used. And we would help with that. Everything that we wore, our mom sewed. And she did the tanning, fur sewing, and beadwork. There are fifteen Gwich’in villages that expand from the northeast Alaska interior over to the Yukon Territory and the McKenzie Delta area of the Northwest Territory in Canada. There are eight
thousand Gwich’in who live in this vast area. We used to be nomadic people, following the caribou, and that’s how we made it year to year, for thousands of years. But now our kids have to go to school, so we live in villages. Our kids have to live in two worlds. We tell them, “Respect your Elders,” and at the same time we tell them, “Go get your higher education.” We are the caribou people. To us, the caribou are like the buffalo are to the Plains Indians in the United States. It is our food on the table. Today, 75 percent of our food is wild meat: mainly caribou, moose, birds and ducks and fish, and small animals. And it’s our clothing, it’s our tools, and it also used to be our shelter—caribou skin hut. And that’s how we are. Caribou are not just what we eat; they are who we are. They are in our stories and songs and the whole way we see the world. Caribou are our life. Without caribou we wouldn’t exist. There is the U.S.–Canada border, but to Gwich’in, we don’t see border. To caribou, they don’t see border. In June 1988, our Gwich’in Elders got concerned about the oil companies wanting to drill where the caribou have their calves—in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So they called a meeting in Arctic Village. People came in from all our villages. Our chiefs went up into the hills and around a campfire they made a pact to protect the birthplace of the Porcupine caribou herd and our Gwich’in way of life. The Gwich’in Steering Committee was formed and we agreed unanimously that we would speak with one voice against oil and gas development in the birthing and nursing ground of the Porcupine River caribou herd. The corporations refer to the area as ANWR (“Anwar”). But the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a
birthing place for so many creatures that we call it IIzhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit. That means the “Sacred Place Where Life Begins.” This is true not only for the caribou but for many life forms. It’s a birthplace for many species of birds that fly from all over the world to nest here. Fish come here from the Arctic Ocean to spawn. Polar bears den along the coast. Wolves and grizzlies and wolverines have their young here. And this place has polar bears, brown bears, and black bears— all three species exist at once. Our fight is not just about the caribou. It’s for the whole ecosystem of Gwich’in country. It is indigenous rights, it is tribal rights, it is national environmental rights in the United States, and it is human rights to us—a struggle for our rights to be Gwich’in, to be who we are, a part of this land. It is also women’s rights, because women give birth. That’s the most powerful thing that we have as a woman. And that goes for all life, all living things. When I had my baby boy, I wanted a place where it is quiet, where it is clean, and where it is private. I believe it is the same for all living things. Where I am from we’ve still got clean air and water and we want to keep it that way. There are places that shouldn’t be disturbed for any reason. Some places are too important, made especially for the animals. The caribou calving ground must be left alone. Our way of life is also being threatened by climate change, which is real and more noticeable in the Arctic. Climate change is also a human rights violation. We have to do something about climate change. It’s very unpredictable weather—too much snow one year, not enough the next. When there is too much snow, the caribou cannot make it to their birthing ground. That’s the only safe
and healthy place to have their calves, and they can’t make it. The cows miscarry their calves because of the hard times. In Alaska there are about two hundred villages, and most of them are like Arctic Village, where they live in the traditional way, and respect this way of life. There are about sixty villages along the Yukon River, and during spring 2010, twenty of those villages were flooded, and there was fire all summer long. There was hardly any visibility. Some of the villages are eroding away. When there is change to the weather it confuses us, and it confuses the animals. Now that the ice is melting, polar bears can’t get their food, they can’t get their seals. They’re coming inland, which is very unusual. It’s not their habitat. All these things are happening in Alaska, in the Arctic. Climate change is real in the Arctic. Maybe there are too few of us to matter. Maybe people think Indians are not important enough to consider in making their energy decisions. But it’s my people who are threatened by potential oil development and climate change. We are the ones who have everything to lose. The Gwich’in are going to fight as long as we need to. We know that without the land and the caribou, we are nobody. My hope is to see 350 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere become a reality, to see the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain become permanently protected, and to see that we make a transition from oil use to clean energy. They are all connected.” Sarah James “We Are the Ones Who Have Everything to Lose,” in Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point, ed. Subhankar Banerjee (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012).
Charley Case Atomic Tree
Atomic Tree 2010, Projection onto silk curtain: Mixed media: ink on silk, bamboo sticks, video loop Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11 Photo: CCEMX
at COP16 and LACE
The video installation “Atomic Tree” by Charley Case takes us to the droughts of the African savanna. We encounter a dead tree releasing black liquid resembling oil, and women with water jugs fleeing the drought. The work is a poetic metaphor for the exploitation of the African continent and for the fact that women still constitute the base of the family and provide for it. A L- A LM A : RO M PIE NDO A G U A S at COP 15
For “AL-ALMA: Rompiendo Aguas” (“To the Soul: Breaking Waters”), Charley Case collaborated with the collective MASALLA to create an installation of painted floor elements, sculptures, and video which examined the complex role of women in subsistence economies, in this case in Africa. Climate change has reduced water resources throughout the continent and forces women to walk long distances to fetch water. At the same time, the lack of water affects the food production. This devastating phenomenon forces people from vulnerable communities to emigrate and search for a new life abroad. Many of these lives are lost in the waters separating Africa and Europe, closing the cycle of water giving and taking life.
AL-ALMA: Rompiendo Aguas 2009, 180 × 60 cm Mixed media: paint, varnish on linoleum, clay sculptures, clay amphora, wood, video. Installation view, COP 15, DGI-byen, Copenhagen, 2009
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
“Terre, ile,” Fine Arts Museum of Charleroi, Belgium (2010); “Descuadratura,” Sala Parpalló, Valencia (2009); “Now Won” (2006) and “Out of Time” (2004), Aeroplastics, Brussels; “Ligne,” Centre for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade (1998). Select Group Exhibitions
Charley Case is a multi-disciplinar y artist from Belgium who focuses on the analysis of the mechanisms of human and social conflicts. He often works as part of the artist collective SINÉANGULO, which was founded in Mali. The artists travel together in a group and create works that are based on simplicity and sharing.
“Astralis,” Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2014); Musée Picasso, Antibes (2013); “Wunderkammer,” 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice (2012); “Le temps du Rêve,” Abbatoirs Contemporary Art Museum, Toulouse, France (2009); MACBA Barcelona (2000); Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, France. charleycase.be
Meschac Gaba Pollution B usiness at COP15, COP16, and LACE
Pollution Business 2009, Mixed media: total installation on one wall, 3 × 6 m 12 wood panels, printed cotton and linen towels, variable sizes 80 x 60 cm each; video screen or projection Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
Meschac Gaba created “Pollution Business,” an installation made of large linen towels framed on wood panels and a video documenting women of Cotonou, Benin, as they wipe the faces of motor bike taxi drivers and their clients with linen towels. The intense smog left dark traces on the white towels, transforming them into Veronica iconlike veils. They reveal the CO2 pollution that the inhabitants of Cotonou, one of the most contaminated cities in the world, have to face every day. The illegal petrol causing this pollution is smuggled across the borders under extreme duress by women, thus closing the vicious cycle of women’s suffering. To prepare this work, the artist organized a special face-cleaning day in Cotonou, where a number of women cleaned the faces of the taxi drivers with the towels and distributed textile face masks to protect the nose and mouth of the drivers against the pollution. This action is reminiscent of the selfless act by Saint Veronica cleaning the face of Jesus.
Select Solo Exhibitions
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2014) Museum of Contemporary African Art, Tate Modern, London (2013); Museum of Contemporary African Art & More, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2009);“Sweetness,” Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2009); “Glue Me Peace,” Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo (2006) and Tate Modern, London (2005). Select Group Exhibitions
“Citoyen du Monde,” Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, (2014); The Theatre of the World, Museo Tamayo, Mexico (2014); “When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2012)“The Global Contemporary,”Center for Art and Media ZKM, Karlsruhe (2012); Biennials of Benin (2012), São Paolo, Gwangju, Sydney, and Havana (2006); Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2003).
Meschac Gaba is best known for his Museum of Contemporary African Art, a project in which he instal-
led 12 rooms of a nomadic museum in various institutions over a period of six years starting in 1996, culminating with his presentation of a “Humanist Space” at Documenta11 in 2002 and recently at the Tate Modern, London in 2013. Gaba also created the Museum Restaurant at W139 in Amsterdam (1999); the Games Room in Besançon, France (1999), Brussels and Gent (2000); the Museum Library at Witte de With, Rotterdam (2001), published in book form; and the Salon at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002).
Recife, Brazil; PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. museumofcontemporaryafricanart.com
Anita Glesta C YC L E INTE RRU P TE D
Cycle Interrupted 2009, Total installation: 5x4m Media and duration: two-channel projection (2 × 2 m each channel = 2 × 4 m total, duration: 8 min, loop); one miniscreen (duration 5 min, loop) Video still, Cycle Interrupted
at COP15, COP16, and LACE
“The constant thread in all of my work is the participatory component which attempts to transform artwork as object into a place where one can physically engage. As an artist, it is essential for me to give back to the community and by creating work in the public, I feel that I am able to do this. I am informed by the physical properties of a site, as well as by its traces of human history. Creating an awareness of one’s self through highlighting one’s relationship to the physical environment is paramount to my process. My recent work with video reflects these same concerns. I am able to alter spatial perception, create sculptural forms, and using color and textures make works which offer a painterly and sensual experience. Video is a very direct medium. For the work I am doing with ARTPORT_making waves, I am able to address the crisis which we are facing with the environment employing the directness of this form. I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with ARTPORT at sites throughout the world. It is my hope that my work about climate change can have the immediacy and the urgency of the medium to heighten awareness about this enormous concern.” In Anita Glesta’s multi-channel video installation, “Cycle Interrupted,” the planet is depicted at once as a bucolic paradise and a despairing hell. On one wall of Glesta’s installation, a short video shows an intense urban plaza in La Paz, Bolivia, in June of 2009, when Swine Flu had just appeared in South America. On the adjacent wall, a diptych depicts extreme conditions of climate change in a color-saturated world where the women who have been hardest hit by this move slowly, as though foraging for food in an impossible environment. An image of a crystal ball morphs into circles that float through all three videos, suggesting the planet and the cycles of life which inhabit it.
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
“Perspecta,” Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia (2013); Sackler Museum, Beijing China (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow (MOCAK), Poland (2012); Five Myles Gallery, New York (2009); Museo Nacional La Paz, Bolivia (2009); White Box Exhibition Space, New York (2007); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York (2007); Black and White Gallery, Outdoor Space, New York (2003).
As an artist in the public space Anita Glesta has worked on several large-scale international projects. In 2010 she was commissioned to create a permanent outdoor integrated landscape sculpture for the Federal Census Bureau Building in Washington, DC, through the General Services Administration in Art and Architecture program.
Select Group Exhibitions
“Invitation for Peace,” Nash Gallery, Minneapolis (2013); “WATERSHED,” IDEAS CITY Festival (2013); Big Screen Plaza video installation, New York (2012); 01SJ Biennial, San Jose, CA (2010). Awards
Glesta has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, among them Pollock/Krasner, New York State Council for the Arts (Media and New Technologies); the Australia Council grant; Fellowship by New York Foundation for the Arts. anitaglesta.com
Yolanda Gutiérrez La Flor de la Vida ( The F lower of Life )
La Flor de la Vida (The Flower of Life) 2010, Pedestal, 80 cm x 1 m ø Variable number of hydrogel pieces, 10 cm each Mixed media: wooden pedestal and glass-hydrogel sculptures Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11 Photo: CCEMX
For this exhibition, Gutiérrez created “La Flor de la Vida” (“The Flower of Life”) as a symbol for the power of rural female herbalists and the efficiency of their treatments with natural plants, juxtaposing it to the often inefficient Western medicine used in urban areas. The artist chose to collaborate with women from the village of Maní, Yucatán, who work with special plants to cure many diseases of this earth. Gutiérrez dissolved the plants and conserved the essence in hydrogel, a liquid form of plastic that eventually hardens. She then assembled the plastic petals in the pattern of “The Flower of Life,” which is the most important symbol of Sacred Geometry (geometry used in the planning and construction of religious structures and spaces, and the creation of religious art). The work can thus be understood as a healing ritual for the planet.
BIOGRAPHY Select Solo Exhibitions
Site-specific intervention in The Altar of Sorrows at the Oratory of the City Museum of Mexico City (2013); “Fresco y Puro Corazon de Arbol” (“Fresh and Pure Heart of the Tree”), Theme Park Cumbre Tajon, Veracruz, Mexico (2001); “Water,” Amparo Museum, Puebla, Mexico (2000); National Gallery of Jeu de Paumes, Paris (1999). Select group Exhibitions
Yolanda Gutiérrez (Cozumel, Mexico) is part of a growing movement of artists who address issues related to ecology and habitat in their work. She studied agronomy in the Yucatán, and has worked with biologists from the Mexican government to create floating sculptures to help sea birds return to a wildlife reservation on the island of Cozumel after a hurricane had destroyed the area.
“Dialogues,” Museum Casa de los Caballeros Aguila, Puebla, Mexico (2002); “Metropolis Mexica, Aspects of Contemporary Art of Mexico,” Museum of Picardi, Amiens, France (2001); “Flor y Canto” (“Flower and Song”), U.S. Tour (2001); Seventh Salon of Contemporary Art BBVA Bancomer Tendencias, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City (2001); Installation in the Mexican Pavilion, Universal Exposition, Hannover, Germany (2000); “Mexico Forever, Art and Permanence,” Petit Palais, Paris, and Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City (2000); “Earth: Identities Dispersed,” University Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico City (1999); Third SITE Biennial,“Looking For a Place” Santa Fe, New Mexico (1998); Fifth Istanbul Biennial, “In the Light of the Pain” (1997); “Havana-São Paulo,” Young Art of Latin America, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin (1995).
Installation view CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11. Works from left to right: Kim Abeles, BetsabeĂŠ Romero. Photo: CCEMX
Installation view COP15, DGI-byen, Copenhagen, 2009. Works: Charley Case; back wall from left to right: Kim Abeles, Meschac Gaba, Frances Whitehead.
Installation view CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11. Works from left to right: Meschac Gaba, Yolanda GutiĂŠrrez.
Installation view COP15, DGI-byen, Copenhagen, 2009. Works: Insa Winkler; back wall: Subhankar Banerjee.
Installation view CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11. Work: Nnenna Okore. Photo: CCEMX
Detail Nnenna Okore, Mother.Nature, 2009
Video still Frances Whitehead: UNFORESEEN: , 2009
Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012. Work: Kim Abeles. Photo: Josh White
Detail Kim Abeles: Silhouettes in Smog, 2009
Detail Ander Azpiri: Rising Water Level, 2010
Detail Meschac Gaba: Pollution Business, 2009
Video still Meschac Gaba: Pollution Business, 2009
Detail Ursula Scherrer: Re-Write, 2012 Photo: Josh White
Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11. Works from left to right: Anita Glesta, Perla Krauze. Photo: CCEMX
Detail Perla Krauze: Paradise Lost, 2010 Photo: CCEMX
Detail Subhankar Banerjee: Caribou Migration I, Oil and the Caribou, 2002
Detail Subhankar Banerjee: Caribou Migration II, Oil and the Caribou, 2002
Video stills Anita Glesta: Cycle Interrupted, 2009
Performance views, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions): MĂŠlodie Mousset & Zachary Sharrin: Some Parts are Limbs, October 2012 Photo: Josh White
Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012. Works from left to right: George Steinmann, Nnenna Okore, Subhankar Banerjee, Roman Signer, Charley Case. Photo: Josh White
Detail George Steinmann: Komi, a Growing Sculpture, 1997-2007 Photo: Josh White
Panel Discussion: Explorations, Collaborations, Transformations: The Artist's Role in Raising Awareness About Climate Change From left to right: Anne-Marie Melster (ARTPORT); Chuck Kopczak (California Science Center); Margaret Wertheim (Institute For Figuring), moderator; Corinne Erni (ARTPORT); George Steinmann (Artist). LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), October 2012. Photo: Josh White
Perla Krauze Para í so P erdido ( L ost Paradise)
Paraíso Perdido (Lost Paradise) 2010, Site-specific installation: 5 × 3 m Mixed media: plastic flowers, glass, printed lead panels, peepholes, strings Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-11 Photo: CCEMX
Perla Krauze created “Paraíso Perdido”(“Lost Paradise”), an idyllic garden with lush flowers and plants which is, however, inaccessible to the visitor. The garden—the lost paradise—only allows a peak through peepholes, creating a feeling of nostalgia and longing for something that was lost because of us: the paradise that we have replaced with an artificial world. What was lost—nature—can only be conserved in a sealed-off space. The dual connotation of the “lost” and the “artificial” is highlighted by the fact that the artist uses fake plants and flowers that are sold in the flower stalls in Mexico City. The attempt to conserve something that is being lost is a typical characteristic of women, especially in traditional cultures like in Mexico. Here it comments on the woman’s attempt to embellish her surroundings in order to make them more livable.
BIOGRAPHY Select Exhibitions and site-specific interventions
“Memory and Traces” (2013) and “Stones and Flowers” (2009), Howard Scott Gallery, New York; “Imprints,” Gebert Contemporary, Santa Fe (2010); “Huellas y Trayectos,” Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City (2010); “José Alvarado 24 a / Guerrero 27 Norte,” Museum of the City of Querétaro (2010); Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan (2009); “Light and Time,” Kunsthaus Miami Gallery (2008); “Huellas de la Santa Veracruz,” Museo de la Estampa, Mexico City (2006); “Amarres de Luz y Silencio,” Museo Carrillo Gil (1995), Mexico City.
Perla Krauze is multi-disciplinary artist who uses a wide variety of materials—from paint, water, led, resin, stone, aluminum, sugar, glass, plants, ceramic, to paper— and explores their specific qualities. As an artist, she is concerned with time and memory, and the effect of the passage of time on material and memory. The desire to preserve and replicate the unique forms of nature is visible throughout her body of work. Krauze´s gesture of replication struggles against the ephemerality of the everyday urban landscape.
Banff Center for the Arts, Canada; Djerassi, California; Art Institute, Santa Fee.
Mélodie Mousset and Zachary Sharrin
Some Parts are Limbs Performance view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), October 2012 Photo: Josh White
S ome Parts are Limbs at LACE
“Zachary and I were interested in exploring data about gender and climate issues in a physical way. We didn’t want to talk about them, but to let them emerge through our body. Abuse of power, be it by humans over other humans, or by humans over nature, creates an imbalance and unsustainable situations. These situations were manifested through the surreal sketches that we created.” In their interactive performance, “Some Parts are Limbs,” the artist/choreographer duo Mélodie Mousset and Zachary Sharrin used data about gender theory and climate change metaphorically to encourage the audience to “find a physical balance as they face the dynamics of a fast changing society and environment.” They combined movement, gesture, and voice to engage the audience in a way to gain consciousness at a deeper level. Sculptures, artifacts, sound, and music from different time periods and parts of the world accompanied the performance. The artists have collected these tools to support their experimental investigation into the roles we all play in different contexts—of gender, sexuality, politics, and oppression— as well as into the reality of our existence on a planet with strained resources.
M elodie mousset BIOGRAPHY
Z achary S harrin BIOGRAPHY
Mélodie Mousset’s body of work extends through numerous media, including performance, video, installation, photography, and sculpture. She is often informed by anthropological and ontological curiosities, as seen in her Study on Membership series, which explores social dynamics and the metrics of contemporary identity through a performative “reversestoning.” Similarly, she engages an interest in the body as a vehicle of physical, ritual, and historiographical interaction in works like “The Ennis Shell,” a ceramic blanket that covers an invisible figure frozen in a yoga pose. The first sculpture in this series was included in “George Herms: Xenophilia” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011). Mousset had solo exhibitions at Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles (2012) and at The Suzanne Geiss Company, New York (2013).
Zachary Sharrin is a multidisciplinary artist and choreographer focusing on the human body as an active and receptive expression of experience and identity. Collaborating with other fine artists, musicians, and dancers, his installations and performances make use of already existing social and plastic conditions, altering them to express or perform something extra or parallel to their original purpose. He has shown in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rome, and at the Ruhr Triennial as part of the CalArts Plays Itself showcase at P.A.C.T Zollverein, Essen. His work focuses on communication, sexuality, dance, art history, and the natural world. He is a founder and creative director of Performance | Parallax in LA, a multi-disciplinary performance company.
Mother.Nature 2009, 3 m x 5 m ø Mixed media: handmade paper, dye, jute fiber, wax, rope and wire (Detail) Photo: Josh White
M other . N ature at COP15, COP16, and LACE
Nnenna Okore’s work “Mother.Nature,” which was specifically created for this exhibition, is an installation comprising fifty containers in the shape and form of pregnant bellies made from handmade paper and wax. These are assembled randomly on a floor space in three to six groups of 7-12 containers within each cluster. The work shows how a woman’s maternal qualities can be extended towards the restoration and preservation of natural resources. Furthermore, a grouping of suspended leaf-like, handmade papers are positioned within the installation to connote groups of falling leaves or plant life. The installation is not only an African position within the exhibition and an earthy counterpart to the technology-leaning works, it is also a poetic approach to the aspects of recycling, water shortage and how to use found and natural material in African countries to face the effects of climate change. The work reflects on the notion of ADAPTATION in the climate change debate. BIOGRAPHY Select Exhibitions
“AKARAKA,” Art Twenty One, Victoria Island, Lagos (2013); Bekris Gallery, San Francisco (2013); International Biennial of Lin de Portneuf, Quebec, Canada (2013); Goethe Institut Lagos, Nigeria (2009); Chicago Cultural Center (2009); Museum of Art and Design New York (2008); Dakar Biennial (2005). Scholarships:
Fulbright Scholar Award to Nigeria (2012); Artist-in-residence/Teaching Fellowship, Skidmore College, New York (2011); Artist Residency, Jean Paul Blachere Foundation, Apt, France (2010); Artist-in-residence, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (2010); UNESCO-Aschberg Fellowship for Artists, Gruber Jez Foundation, Mexico (2007). nnennaokore.com
Nnenna Okore was born in Australia and raised in Nigeria. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at North Park University, Chicago, where she teaches Advanced Studio, Spatial Art, Video Art, Two and Three Dimensional Design, Drawing I, and Non-western Art History. She has participated in several residencies worldwide, and been shown in numerous prestigious galleries and museums within and outside the United States, including Chicago Cultural Center, October Gallery in London, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. She spent a residency year in Nigeria as a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship from 2012-13. She participated in the International Biennial of Lin de Portneuf, Quebec, Canada, summer 2013.
Betsabeé Romero Por el Pan Nuestro (For Our B read)
Por el Pan Nuestro (For our Bread) 2010, 2.4 m ø Mixed media: ca. 300 handmade loaves of bread; two engraved, used truck tires Installation view, CCEMX (Spanish Cultural Center in Mexico City), 2010-2011 Photo: CCEMX
at COP 16
“I am interested in the car as an artistic vehicle to transform the symbol of masculinity and give it new meaning. In doing so, I have been able to engage with an audience that normally wouldn’t go near contemporary art. In my work for this exhibition, not only the materials—rubber tires— are recycled but also their function and value. Instead of running over things and obliterating them, the tire takes on a new function to create beautiful mosaics. The transformation comes from an intervention in the objects and a slower, artisanal character is added to the cold, industrial object. It becomes warm, feminine, sensual and the material it interacts with—bread—is also very rich in meaning. The car reveals the most profound contradictions of modernity and the selfishness prevailing our times, which translates into blindness towards the historic and ecological context of our planet. It is delusional to think of the car as a symbol of mobility and change because of its speed. Instead, it is forced to undergo a transformation in order to create new relationships with its users and its environment.” Betsabeé Romero modifies and deconstructs cars as a means to address social and cultural issues, in particular masculinity. She has created cars from ceramics and converted school busses into mobile gardens, adding a soft, feminine character to an imposing symbol of manhood. In the installation, “Por el Pan Nuestro” (“For Our Bread”), Romero engraved old tires with floral designs deriving from indigenous embroidery. She then used the tires to imprint handmade bread dough, which she baked and arranged as mosaics, making them look like flower petals. In this context, the tires and the bread become a symbol for the juxtaposition of the masculine and the feminine. “For Our Bread” also reflects on the relationship between women and their work of resistance from their homes.
BIOGRAPHY Select SOLO Exhibitions
“Uroboros Urbanos,” Galería Juan Ruíz, Miami; “Cartography of an Identity,” ADC / Building Bridges International Art Exchange Program, Los Angeles; “Lágrimas negras,” Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, MARCO (2009); “Sheltered Shadows,” Galeria Ramis Barquet, New York (2007). Select Group Exhibitions
“superREAL,” El Museo del Barrio, New York (2013); Biennial of the South, Panama (2013); “Auto. Dream and Matter,” LABoral, Gijón, Spain (2009); “The Hours,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007); Biennial of Habana (2003); Celebrate Mexico, Kennedy Center, Washington (2010); “Car Fetish: I Drive Therefore I Am,” Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland (2011).
Betsabeé Romero has produced site-specific installations for exhibitions such as “Day of the Dead Celebration,” Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City (2012); “No todo lo que es verde brilla,” Mexico City (2007); “Carro-molotov,” Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2007); “Au Bord du Paysage,” Art dans la Nature Biennial, Farges, France (2005); “Art in the Gardens,” organized by the Public Art Department of Chicago, Hide Park, Chicago, Illinois (2004); “Llantas para Ciudades a Flor de Piel” and “Mas allá de la Potencia y la Velocidad,” Kohj, Bangalore, India (2003).
First Prize Cairo Biennial (2006). betsabeeromero.com
Re-Write 2012, Various dimensions Mixed media: video projections, glass shards, clay, knitting needles Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
R e- write at LACE
“Earth. Cycles. Fragile. Being. Broken. Words appear. Disappear. Handwritten. Sometimes hesitantly, sometimes frantically. Like thoughts that come and go. Crossed out, rewritten, written across each other, turned back to black. The sound of writing; scratching. Rhythm. Dynamics. Silence. Short questions. Short sentences. Single words. Word plays. Turned and twisted. A question becomes an answer. An answer, a question. Words about being, about being who, being what, about being beyond I. Cycles of blood. Deeply imbedded. In every woman.“ “Re-write” is a new work by Ursula Scherrer that was performed during the opening of (Re-) Cycles of Paradise at LACE and continued as an installation throughout the exhibition. Scherrer explores the thought process about being a woman, a mother, and an artist in a physical, organic act during which she uses knitting needles to write streams of consciousness in fresh clay that is spread on shards of glass. The action is filmed from below, which makes the text glow through the darkness as if in a dream. As soon as the words are written, she erases them by smoothing the clay over. The act is repeated again and again, as if trying to catch her thoughts. Contact microphones, attached to the glass, amplify the scratching sound of the writing. At the end of the performance Scherrer pours blood of her period in a circle onto the writing. She places the glass shards against the wall as part of the installation. The fresh blood trickles down.
“I am looking for ways to express my inner landscape in the outside world. My work is less about what one sees than about the feeling that it leaves behind.” Ursula Scherrer is a Swiss artist living in New York City. Her work has been shown at festivals, galleries and museums internationally. Her artistic training began with dance, transitioned to choreography and expanded to photography, video, text and mixed media. Her work initiates a shift within us that encourages a deeper connection with our own being and therefore also a deeper connection with the world outside. There is little to see and yet so much. The simplicity touches a place deep within. There is space for our own associations, stories, insights and thoughts. Scherrer has collaborated, among others, with composers/musicians Shelley Hirsch, Michelle Nagai, John Duncan, Kato Hideki, Flo Kaufmann, David Watson, Valerio Tricoli, Michael J. Schumacher, with the choreographers Liz Gerring and Susanne Braun as well as with the light artist Kurt Laurenz Theinert. Together with Katherine Liberovskaya, Scherrer organizes OptoSonic Tea, a series dedicated to the convergence of live visuals with live sounds.
Table 1994, 1 wooden table, 8 buckets Table: 105 x 70 x 140 cm; Buckets: 40 x ø 30 cm, 30 cm x ø 20 cm Photo: Hauser & Wirth
T able at LACE
“Most likely, other tables will follow the path of this floating table because of climate change.” Roman Signer's installation “Table” consists of a kitchen table whose legs rest in four empty buckets, which again float in four larger buckets filled with water. As in much of Signer’s work, banal and utilitarian objects gain a new meaning; here Signer puts objects that are typical for the traditional role of women—a table, where she puts the food, and buckets, which she uses for washing—in the context of climate change, where both food and water are becoming scarce commodities. The tongue-in-cheek assemblage of these household utensils also represent the female act of “accepting” and carrying the weight of these chores, combined with the missing, undervalued, and overused water, and also its power to take away. In 1994, Signer placed a similar table attached to buckets into a river near the Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland. As the fragile construct was drifting towards the sea, the artist observed ice breaking away from the glacier and falling into the sea. This act now seems like a premonition about drastic environmental changes that were already happening but neither recognized nor much talked about.
Signer’s “action sculptures” involve setting up, carrying out, and recording “experiments” or events that bear aesthetic results. Following carefully planned and strictly executed and documented procedures, the artist enacts and records such acts as explosions, collisions, and the projection of objects through space. Video works like Stiefel mit Rakete (Boot with Rocket) are integral to Signer’s performances, capturing the original setup of materials that self-destruct in the process of creating an emotionally and visually compelling event. Signer gives a humorous twist to the concept of cause and effect and to the traditional scientific method of experimentation and discovery, taking on the self-evidence of scientific logic as an artistic challenge. Signer’s work has been exhibited extensively at museums, art spaces, and biennials worldwide, including at several editions of the Venice Biennale, the Busan Biennale; Skulptur.Projekte, Münster (1997), and documenta 8, Kassel (1997).
George Steinmann K omi , A Growing Sculpture at LACE
“The exhibition (Re-) Cycles of Paradise at LACE was a perfect setting for me to present and discuss the interconnectedness of nature, science, technology, and ethical responsibility through art. If only there were more curators and exhibition spaces that are open to such cultural efforts and encounters with sustainable results.” “Komi, A Growing Sculpture” documents the almost ten year long process during which George Steinmann established the Centre for Sustainable Forestry as a Growing Sculpture in the Taiga, in the Russian Republic of Komi. Combining intuitive perception and scientific precision, Steinmann illuminates the relationship between biological and cultural diversity and presents future-oriented research with aesthetic sensibilities. Four thematically organized tables, focusing on Help for Self-Help, Art as Research, Local Knowledge, and Future Ethics offer an empirical journey for visitors via photographs of pristine forests, scientific research results of biodiversity, wisdom about local, medicinal plants of the Taiga, drawings, books, maps that were made in collaboration with local people, the NGO Silver Taiga Foundation and the Komi State Forestry Agency, an architecture model, medicinal plants, and especially wild blueberries, Steinmann's signature element. The installation explores sustainable development, especially in forestry, and focuses on the knowledge and role of local women. Living in the boreal Taiga forest, one of Europe’s last remaining pristine forests, local shamans and healers hold the secrets to the remaining forest’s untapped medicinal resources. Through collaborations with scientists, local people, and governmental agencies, Steinmann’s “Komi” enables the citizens of the Taiga to conserve precious natural resources and, through art exhibitions, gives visitors a chance to explore sustainable forestry.
Komi, A Growing Sculpture 1997-2007, Site-specific, variable dimensions Mixed media: blueberry sap direct on wall, b/w photographs fixed with blueberry sap; medicinal plants, Komi handcrafts, maps, video stills, color photographs, architectural model and drawings on tables Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
BIOGRAPHY Select Exhibitions
“Das dritte Relat” (“The Third Relation”), Experimenta 13 Basel (2013); “Das gelbe Gerüst” (“The Yellow Scaffolding”), Centre for Contemporary Art, Nairs (2012); “Chaos in Art and Science,” ERES Foundation Munich (2012); “Der leere Raum” (“The Empty Room”) Kunsthaus Interlaken (2011); “Sea Change-See Change,” Salo Art Museum (2008); “Art as Research,” Villa Elisabeth, Berlin (2008); “Blues Notes,” Helmhaus Zurich (2007); “Ursache Zukunft” (“The Future as Cause”), Goetheanum Dornach (2007); “Lofty Dryness,” Kunsthalle Bern,(2003); “From-To-Beyond,” Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1997); Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (1996) and Rundetoorn Copenhagen (1996); “Ruumi Naasmine,” Tallinn Art Hall, (1992-1995); “Deep Reserve,” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, (1993); “Hagaldom: The Fossile Age,” Pori Art Museum (1989).
George Steinmann is a visual artist and musician based in Berne, Switzerland. He studied painting, sound, and African American History in Berne, Basel, Helsinki, and San Francisco. His work focuses on the relationship between contemporary art and science and the interconnectedness of art, culture, and sustainability. In 2011, in recognition of his multi-disciplinary work, he was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Philosophical-Historical Faculty of the University of Berne. His books include George Steinmann and the Ecology of Mind (Pori Art Museum 1989); Blue Notes (Nürnberg/Zürich 2007); Komi: A growing sculpture (Bern 2007); Art without an Object but with Impact (Basel 2012); and Suchraum Wildnis (Bern, Basel 2013).
Frances Whitehead UN F ORE SE E N:
UNFORESEEN: 2009, Media: HD video, Super 8 mm, transferred to DVD (duration: 4.5 minute loop) Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
at COP15, COP16, and LACE
In “UNFORESEEN:,” Frances Whitehead traces the contribution of early twentieth century plant geneticist, Lydia Rodina, as her work continues to have global impacts. Rodina starved herself to death during the siege of Leningrad in order to save important seeds. Bringing women scientists, policy makers and community organizers together, the digital video elucidates the interconnectivity of women climate “heroes” worldwide, and the impacts of their work, now and into the future. Some of these women are Dr. Pamela Anderson, head of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru; Wangari Maathai, Kenyan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner 2004, Gwich’in Elder and activist Sarah Agnes James, and others. For (Re-) Cycles of Paradise, Whitehead has collaborated with ARTetal contributor Steve Juras, Creative Director of the Swiderski Institute (swidinst.org) and Mozambique filmmaker, Jose Ferreira.
BIOGRAPHY Select Exhibitions
Viinistu Art Museum, Estonia (2011); “Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion,”Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011); Center of Polish Sculpture, Oronsko, Poland (2004); Kohler Arts Center; Drawing Center; National Gallery. Bibliography
Sculpture; Art in America; Artforum; frieze. Awards
Tiffany Foundation; NEA; Illinois Arts Council. franceswhitehead.com
Frances Whitehead is working from a multifaceted aesthetic position, deep practice, which aims to contribute to a sustainable future. As recipient of numerous grants and awards, she has exhibited widely and worked with numerous trans-disciplinary teams, evolving new forms of practice through artistic knowledge. In 2001, Whitehead founded ARTetal Studio to undertake collaborative public projects focused on cultural change and environmental awareness. Projects under development include The Lima Project, an urban agriculture collaboration with the government of Metropolitan Lima, Peru. In 2008, Whitehead initiated “The Embedded Artist Project” with the City of Chicago to bring artistic perspectives to civic endeavors. SLOW Cleanup has been developed through this program. Other projects include: The Phenologic Garden, a climate monitoring project with Hessen Forest Service, Germany, and Chicago Park District, (2008-present); SuperOrg, sustainable urbanism for Cleveland, OH (2005-07); Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston; Places with a Future (2003-2006); and the Murray City Ball Diamond Project, a pollution remediation pilot for the NEA and the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, 2000-02. Whitehead is a Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1985, founding the SAIC Knowledge Lab, and contributing to the formation of SAIC4—The Chicago Center for Climate and Culture, a Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration.
[In] Dependency Water 2009, Two sculptures, 3 x 2 m each Mixed media: EM (Effective Microorganism) ceramic pipes, water, water pump, water tank PE, nylon cord, PE recycling bottles, metal mounting
[ IN ] dependency water at COP15, COP16, and LACE
Installation view, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 2012 Photo: Josh White
“The art of ‘self-responsibility’ is a very complex matter that requires curiosity about the origins of resources and life processes.” The interactive installation,“[IN]Dependency Water,” proposes alternatives to the domination of water resources by large corporations. A curtain made of hundreds of small ceramic pills in the shape of a woman carrying water on her head is an homage to the vulnerability, sacrifice, and self reliance of women who relentlessly struggle for survival while resisting dependence from water utility enterprises. The ceramic pills contain micro organism messages, or pro-biotic EM technology, which is used for the biological cleaning of household and drinking water. The curtain is being sprinkled with water and hangs next to a suspended sculpture made of dozens of recycled plastic bottles in the shape of a vine. This symbol of life is a reminder that water should be a human right; however, it is increasingly monopolized by large enterprises, creating dependency. During the exhibition, EM Water is served to the visitors who are encouraged to take home some of the pills and try them at home.
“Hungry City,” Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien, Berlin (2012); “Peace Art of War Material,” Mekens Vänner Association Arboga, Sweden (2012); “Beijing Flower of Sustainability,” Dialogue on Arts and Climate Change, Asia Europe Foundation/CAFA, China (2009); “The Language of Life and Peace,” Yian Gallery Daejon, Korea (2007); “Pflanzendialoge,” Harburger Kunstverein (2006); “Ecotopia,” Goethe Institut Tbilisi, Georgia (2005); Geumgang Nature Art Biennale, Korea (2004). insawinkler.de
As an environmental artist, Insa Winkler focuses on the relationships between humans and nature, landscape and ecology, and on the philosophy of the flora. After realizing projects like Nature Reservation Area of Moor, Damage Zone Chernobyl, Conservation of a Military Area in East Germany, Agriculture and Acorn Pig Farming, she coined the term „social land art“ as a cross-disciplinary approach to environmental issues. She obtained a Master of Science for architecture and environment in 2009, and her Ph.D research at Leuphana University Lüneburg focuses on the dialogue of art and sustainability. In 2003, she received the Culture Award of the County of Oldenburg.
About AR TPOR T_ making waves
About the Curators
ARTPORT_making waves is an international curatorial practice that raises awareness about environmental issues with a focus on climate change through art exhibitions, video projects, residency programs, advisory and educational programs, as well as collaborations linking the arts, science, and politics with the aim to inspire social change. Our goal is to create international networks of artists, curators, critics, and cultural institutions in order to nurture a genuine global artistic discourse, providing a platform for emergent and established artists from all over the world.
(Co-Founder and Co-Director) is a curator and cultural manager. She heads up the biennial IDEAS CITY Festival at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, a collaborative initiative with dozens of cultural, educational, and civic organizations that explores the urban future with the belief that the arts are essential to the vitality of cities. She also produces the annual IDEAS CITY Global Conferences (Istanbul 2012, São Paulo 2013). Previously, she has produced and curated major arts events at prime New York venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and others. She has managed several large-scale arts festivals, including Extremely Hungary (2009-10), European Dream (2006) which was commended Best Arts Event of the Year by Newsday, and the Swiss Peaks Festival (2003).
ARTPORT_making waves explores artists’ responses to climate change and its causes, effects, and solutions. How do artists reflect on the drastic ecological shifts that cause an increasing number of natural disasters and extreme weather with unprecedented destructive power, such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods? How can artists make a difference? How can they create awareness among the general public and influence the political will to adapt public policy and education? What are the different approaches worldwide and how can we create synergies to effect change? ARTPORT_making waves was founded in 2006 by two international curators, Corinne Erni and Anne-Marie Melster. It is based in the U.S. and Spain, where it is a registered non-profit association.
(Re-)Cycles of Paradise in the Press
Anne-Marie Meister Anne-Marie Melster (Co-Founder and CoDirector) is a curator, art writer, and consultant for art, environment, and education. She curates and organizes exhibitions, video projects, performances, workshops, panels, and educational collaborations worldwide. She guest lectures at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the University of Hamburg, and the Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica, and collaborates with the Ringling College of Art + Design, Sarasota (Florida). She contributes to international art magazines. With her former company, Art & Culture Projects, she has managed contemporary art galleries, developed artist residencies in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, organized the cultural program of the renowned Collection Falckenberg in Hamburg, consulted for young collectors of contemporary art, and published catalogues and artist books. She was the personal and artistic assistant of Reinhold Würth, one of Europe’s most important collectors and art patrons. She consulted for the Carbon Challenge Foundation for Sustainable Management.
“The last event, ‘(Re-) Cycles of Paradise’ at ARTPORT was the most impressive. ... The space was grand: fabulous ceilings and all the art, ecological, had political content—specifically gender related but including men.” “...watching and listening to Sarah James at ARTPORT, while Subhankar filmed her. And that unframed moment would not be considered “pertinent environmentalist exhibition” by many. Subhankar is the art star. But in that situation, his status and technical skills were at the service of a much more dramatic event: the testimony of a beautiful woman (not by any conventional standards: she is short, large and gray) in beautiful dress, saying and singing beautiful things about a beautiful world we are relentlessly, often casually, utterly destroying. The frame for that event was their personal relationship and the entire world’s eyes on this city and awareness of delays in COP caused by the developed countries. Judged by the limits of the literal exhibition space, or conventional modernist formal perceptions, it was a native woman in costume being filmed by the important photographer Subhankar Banerjee in the beautiful ARTPORT gallery, surrounded by excellent work, elegantly displayed.”
“Al respecto Jaime Arau Roffiel, director general del CCyTEM, informó que en esta exposición busca fomentar el intercambio del ciudadano con el arte, para concientizarlo en cuestiones del medio ambiente buscando lograr una postura hacia el desarrollo sustentable.” “Jaime Arau Roffiel, Director General of the Council on Science and Technology of the State of Morelos, said that the aim of the exhibition is to promote the interaction between citizens and the arts in order to raise consciousness about environmental issues and to foment an attitude that strives for sustainable development.”
La Unión de Morelos
LOS ANG ELES
“(Re-) Cycles of Paradise,” organized by the curatorial collective ARTPORT_making waves, presents visitors with works that address connections between conceptions of gender and climate change. At first glance the exhibition appears like a display room for inventive projects ready for prospective backers. Indeed, certain works use this to their advantage while calling attention to the fact that the structures of oppression and objectification that impact and shape conceptions of gender are related to the way climate change is equally enmeshed in ideology and modes of power which create or delay action. “Perhaps through examining how Table engages in this process of allowing us to project our fears instead of confront them, we might come away with a better understanding of how we think about climate change and its very real material impacts on humans and nature, with the growing knowledge that the two might not be separate, but one and the same.”