If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the environment needs constant supervision and care if we want to sustain our communities and strive for a fair society. This concept has already been explored by many spokespeople of environmental art, a movement born in the ’60s, whose members have tried to address social and political issues relating to natural and urban spaces. Here’s a list of five incredible works of art that draw attention to the interconnection between humankind and the ecosystem.
Sella Nest, 2008; Spruce trunks, white marble; Valle di Sella, Italy
Image by www.photoandcontemporary.com
This German artist is one of the most renowned personalities who attempted to establish a bond with the natural surroundings of this planet. “Everything perceivable through human senses takes part. Natural space experienced through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching,” says the artist. This approach is well reflected into one of his creations, which is like a nest, or better, a natural square, made of spruce logs and white marble, where people can meet, relax, and enjoy quality time while delving into the timeless space of the woods to embark in a sensory journey.
Clay Dome, 2012; Clay, bricks, human hair, Rio de Janeiro,Brazil
Image by www.pinterest.com
This British sculptor has dedicated his life to outdoor projects, turning natural materials into art. One of the most spectacular of his works is a clay dome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Goldsworthy used a local clay mixture integrated with human hair for the dome’s surface, which with time has cracked into an extraordinary geometric pattern. The instability of this structure is key to determining the research pursued by the artist because, as the dome is destined to collapse, its creation marks the ephemeral state of things and the inevitability of transitions.
Rough ‘n Tumble, 2020; wood; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL, USA
Image by: www.stickwork.net
His monumental scale works are one the finest examples of the attempt to create a dialogue between the environment and architecture. His experiments with tree saplings allowed him to compose eco-friendly artworks that echo the land on which they were erected. Such sculptures might also evoke the specter of over-development in our cities, especially the abrupt estrangement of the population from natural spaces and the desertification of our urban environment.
BENJAMIN VON WONG
Mermaids Hate Plastic, 2016; 10000 plastic bottles; Image by www.pinterest.com
This Canadian activist and photographer proposes hyper-realistic environmental art installations through which he advocates for plastic-free oceans and raises awareness about the damages of pollution. Interestingly, he uses plastic straws, cups, disposable plastic, pieces of clothing and recovered electronics to create his works. Von Wong clearly brings into question our customs and compels us to reevaluate the consumer-driven society we live in.
Shield, geoglyph of Rhythms of Life series, 2010; stone; Chyulu Hills of Kenya Image : www.slowpainting.wordpress.com
The incomparable quality of this artist’s production lies in his initiative, creating a chain of geoglyphs around the world. His undertaking is indeed unprecedented in terms of scale and ambition. The stone sculptures that form this project were placed in various geographical environments, thus becoming witnesses of climate change. Rogers highlights the irreplaceable beauties of our planet in the shape of rock carvings and realizes suggestive works that evoke the long connection throughout history between humans and the Earth.
Dancing Solar Flower, 2015; Image by: www.alexandredang.com
The theme of coexistence plays a fundamental role in the artistic exploration of this French artist. Namely, in “Dancing Solar Flower,” Dang uses the energy of solar technology as the animating force of his work, combining the innovative power of science and the renewable resources of nature. However appealing these artworks might seem, they also encourage us to reflect on the limited supply of natural elements available to us and urges us to find ecological solutions and re-envision our society. Art becomes a catalyst that can teach sustainability and have a pedagogic purpose.
Alfredo Meschi, “40,000 Crosses;” image by www.pinterest.com
“My body is a permanent performance piece, a political manifesto,” said Meschi. With these words, the artist described the 40,000 tiny black crosses tattooed on his body, which became the medium through which he denounced the mass-slaughter of animals for human benefit. This idea serves the purpose of promoting anti-speciism—referring to the form of discrimination where people give importance to animals based on their species—and making the public aware of the unsustainablity of meat-based diets. “The era of ‘present moment art’ begins, and we all need to face the biggest challenge of our history: saving a planet and interrupting the holocaust of sentient beings.”