Shades of Green A conversation between the curators
ILARIA BONACOSSA: When we met up in London in 2006 at the conference No Way Back? organised by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), I had just started to develop an exhibition of contemporary art that would present international artists whose work touched on environmental issues. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the artists I had been looking at for the show were already collaborating with Latitudes in one way or another. So after reading the book you edited – Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook (2006) – I decided that we should find a way of working together and exchanging our research. We discovered that we agreed on a core issue – that just presenting ‘green’ or ‘eco-conscious’ artists was not going to be particularly interesting for us. We wanted to show artists whose production was significant and relevant formally and aesthetically, but whose work also had the strength and clarity to interrogate and question the actual idea of ‘the environment’. Having discussed the multi-faceted implications of a show concerned with ecology, we decided that it should have a title, namely Greenwashing (a disparaging term for the dishonest representation of ecological merits) that was in some way indicative of a provocative and ironic approach.