Sculpture and Climate Emergency
In its 15th edition, Sculpture Network’s International Forum will explore the transformative power of art and sustainable practices – Sculpture and Climate Emergency.
The statements by Greta Thunberg about the urgency of a “green recovery” made at the COVID-19 and the COP26 conferences, have the same theme in common: The climate crisis. The contemporary art world has expanded its digitalization in the last years, and all the key players have understood that it was crucial for their expansion, sustainability has been linked to the globalization in a wider sense and it needed reflection. At the same time, the impossibility of travel due to COVID-19 has made it necessary for the key players to have a digital profile in order to have visibility within the worldwide system and to raise awareness about the status of the planet. Indeed, in earlier 2020 (before COVID-19), some key individuals within the art world, such as the renowned critic and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, have spoken about the necessity to reduce our carbon footprint and to find a way to eliminate superfluous travelling or movements of goods.
This public statement provoked the foundation of the Gallery Climate Coalition, the principal mission of which is aligned to the Paris agreement to reduce the carbon footprint of the art world by more than 50% in the upcoming ten years. Since its creation, the association Gallery Climate Coalition has expanded with the foundation of groups in cities such as Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York, and countries like Italy and Spain. The formation of the groups was a decision true to the need to reflect on how we are treating our planet as a consequence of our actions.
Among those groups and other individuals calling for action before it is too late, we find contemporary artists that are using their practice to spotlight the environment, tackle the urgency of climate change, and champion sustainability. Indeed, sustainability is becoming part of the creative process of some contemporary artists. Site-specific installations have been playing an important role within land artworks created decades ago with natural materials, such as leaves, sand, ice, and stone. Those artworks, expanded in the landscape, sometimes mimetizing it, others, creating geometrical compositions ready to make us reflect the impact of humans in the natural spaces. Relevant artists like Andy Goldsworthy or Richard Long, most of their work was temporary and was degrading over time, studied the natural environments as their core materials for their research. Nowadays, artists are using natural materials too, as a part of their practices which are not being degraded by the natural climate effects as the works sleep in museums or galleries.
The art world is increasingly recognizing the importance of integrating sustainability into its programs, exhibitions, and collections to address the climate crisis and create a more sustainable future. Hiring staff members in sustainability-related roles is becoming a common practice to ensure accountable action and environmental impact reduction. Museums and galleries are starting to appoint curators specifically dedicated to climate change and to lead their environmental initiatives.
Art institutions are using their platforms to educate the public about environmental issues by organising workshops, panel discussions, and programs that explore the intersection of art and sustainability, and foster an appreciation for eco-conscious practices. The art world is also recognising and supporting artists who focus on environmental themes and use their creative platform to raise awareness and spark conversations about climate change. This support includes grants, residencies, and exhibition opportunities.
Institutions are working towards making their own buildings and practices more sustainable, aiming to become net-zero by reducing energy consumption and improving insulation.
In the upcoming 15th edition of sculpture network’s International Forum, three artists (Leonor Serrano Rivas, Joana Escoval, and Lucía Loren) and three curators (Martí Manen (Index, Stockholm), Daniela Zyman (TBA21), and Lucia Pietroiusti (Serpentine Galleries)) will be present, together with the forum coordinators Amparo L Corral and María Gracia de Pedro.
The next edition will be held in the city of Málaga, Spain and it is divided in three days. Those days will be composed of different activities, from conversations between the curators and the artists, moderated by the coordinators of the forum, to organized private visits to the exhibitions, workshops guided by Ki Culture, as well as the networking events and, as with every previous edition, the member's event that will take place on Saturday. In addition of the 3 days forum, we are proposing other two unique locations to visit, once you are in Spain, the cultural center C3A, located in Cordoba, where the TBA21 foundation is developing their exhibition program, aside of some local exhibitions and artists in residency, and the NMAC - Fundación Montenmedio.
We are very excited to have you all in Málaga this autumn, to discuss sculpture and sustainability. Additionally, we would suggest extending your stay as 2023 is Picasso’s year and the city of Malaga is full of cultural events around his figure that cannot be missed.
See you in Málaga!
Author: Maria Gracia de Pedro
Translation English - German: Sybille Hayek
1 Ulrich Obrist, Hans (10. März 2021), Ecology will be at the heart of everything we do, theartnewspaper.com, Quelle: <https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/archive-leaders-hans-ulrich-obrist-look-to-artists-to-shape-the-future/>
2 Rea, N., (3. März 2021) An Envoy of Eco-Conscious Art Dealers and Insiders Have Created a Simple Tool to Help the Industry Reduce Its Carbon Footprint, news.artnet.com Quelle: <https://news.artnet.com/market/gallery-climate-coalition-1917341/>
3 Ns, (8. April 2021), The Paris Agreement, ec.europa.eu, 5. Oktober 2016 Quelle: <https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en/>