with climate change
Dramatic Decaying Flowers in Tiffanie Turner’s Solo Show “What Befell Us” Challenge Notions of Beauty and Perfection
In her latest solo exhibition, What Befell Us, California-based artist Tiffanie Turner explores notions of aging, imperfection, and perishability. Massive flower blossoms including dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, and strawflowers are formed from Italian crepe paper and span more than five feet across. While in her previous work Turner strove for the ideal phenotype of each flower, in What Befell Us the artist pushes past perfection to investigate our collective relationship to flaws and damage.
The artist shares with Colossal that she felt strongly pulled to focus on climate change and environmental peril in her latest show. She expresses concern that humans’ resistance to perishability with plastic and preservatives also hastens irreparable damage to the earth. And, as a woman experiencing aging in a superficial society, Turner saw personal parallels with our global obsession with freshness and perfection. She explains:
When I started to choose my specimens for this show, instead of superimposing formal imperfections onto these pieces, I sought out flowers that are beautiful even though they are not perfect. For example, the two strawflowers in the show are two sides of the same coin. One is still bright and colorful, but its center is deformed as it starts to lose moisture. The other is older, its petals slumped back from the fading, greying center. Each are “imperfect”, but both are undeniably still beautiful. Why just keep trying to create more beauty. Why can’t we just see more things as beautiful?
What Befell Us is on view at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco through June 15, 2019. Follow along with Turner’s latest work via Instagram. And if you’re inspired to create paper flowers of your own, the artist’s in-depth instructional book is available in The Colossal Shop.
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Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde created WATERLICHT to raise awareness about rising water levels and the need to continue to innovate and adapt to our changing environment. The ethereal projection uses a combination of LED and lenses, which forms a constantly shifting layer of billowing blue light above the heads of viewers. Since its inception in 2016 as a site-specific artwork for Amsterdam’s Dutch District Water Board, the immersive installation has been shown across the world in London, Toronto, Paris, Rotterdam, Dubai, and at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
In a statement on the artist’s website, WATERLICHT is described as a “dream landscape about the power and poetry of water… WATERLICHT creates a collective experience to share the importance of water innovation.” Roosegaarde seeks to encourage positive thinking towards adaptations like building floating cities and generating power from water, while also offering a visceral reminder of the power of water and how it can reclaim land.
Roosegaarde’s body of work focuses on the complex relationship between people and our natural surroundings, including smog, space waste, and rainbows. He was recently named a visiting professor at Monterrey University in Monterrey, Mexico for 2019. You can discover more of Roosegaarde’s projects on his website, and watch an interview with the artist at the site of WATERLICHT’s Toronto installation in the video below. (thnx Marlies!)
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A chilling new installation in the Outer Hebrides shows the impact of climate change and rising tides on the low-lying islands off the west coast of Scotland. Lines (57° 59 ́N, 7° 16 ́W) was created by Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho for Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in Lochmaddy on the island of North Uist. The site-specific installation uses sensors and LED lights to show where the water will flow during storm surges if the Earth’s temperature continues to rise. Searing white lines mark this rising water level on the sides of buildings, hover over bridges, and extend across other susceptible areas across the museum campus and surrounding community.
The installation’s delineations starkly demonstrate the ticking clock that makes the museum’s current location unsustainable unless drastic measures are taken to stop climate change. The video below shows the artists’ installation process. You can see more from Niittyvirta and Aho on their websites. (via designboom)
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The latest installation by ceramicist and ocean advocate Courtney Mattison (previously) is Confluence (Our Changing Seas V), a porcelain coral arrangement produced for the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. The site-specific work features a vibrant cluster of coral structures at its center which turn stark white the further they are placed from the installation’s core. This shifting gradient references the rapid devastation caused to reefs as temperature levels rise and force corals to lose their colorful algae.
This installation is a celebration of Indonesia’s coral reefs, while also pinpointing the human-caused damage that infects the vibrant systems. “Corals, anemones, sponges and other reef-dwelling invertebrates coalesce into a cyclone-like spiral with colorful healthy corals at the eye of the storm, their tentacles and branches dancing in the current,” explains Mattison. “Toward the edges and tail of the swirling constellation, corals sicken and bleach, exposing their sterile white skeletons—a specter of what could be lost from climate change. Yet at its heart the reef remains healthy, resilient and harmonious.”
Indonesia is located at the heart of what is called the “Coral Triangle” or “Amazon of the Sea.” This environment is host to more invertebrate species than can be found anywhere else on the planet, in addition to thousands of species of fish which thrive in the rich ecosystem. Mattison hopes that her handmade constructions of the Coral Triangle’s diverse specimens produces an excitement in viewers while sparking an interest to protect the delicate balance found in Indonesia’s coral systems.
Mattison is exhibiting another recent installation titled Afterglow (Our Changing Seas VI) in the group show Endangered Species: Artists on the Frontline of Biodiversity, curated by Barbara Matilsky, at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington through January 6, 2019. Mattison will travel to Bali at the end of October to unveil a 60-foot-long community-based coral installation she designed for the Coral Triangle Center in Sanur, Bali titled Semesta Terumbu Karang—Coral Universe. The work features over 2000 elements sculpted by a team of over 300 volunteers, coral reef conservationists, and Balinese artisans. You can see further conservation-based projects by Mattison on her website and Instagram.
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Artist Lorenzo Quinn (previously) just finished the installation of a monumental sculpture for the 2017 Venice Biennale. Titled Support, the piece depicts a pair of gigantic hands rising from the water to support the sides of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, a visual statement of the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on the historic city. Quinn is known for his work with the human body—specifically hands—that he incorporates into everything from large-scale sculptures down to jewelry designs. Quinn is represented by Halcyon Gallery, and you can see more installation photos and videos of Support on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Doubling as an artist and ocean advocate, Courtney Mattison (previously) produces large-scale ceramic installations that draw attention to conservation of our planet’s seas. Her latest installation “Aqueduct” showcases hundreds of porcelain sea creatures including anemones, sponges, and coral sprouting from a porcelain air duct. The piece asks us to imagine the plight of these undersea creatures as tropical sea temperatures begin to rise, asking where they might migrate to once their homes have been rendered uninhabitable.
In addition to large-scale installations, Mattison also sculpts more intimate vignettes. Her series “Hope Spots” depicts areas in our seas that are critical to the overall health of the ecosystem. Each of the sculptures is a representation of one of these spots as identified by Mattison’s longtime hero and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle.
The Denver-based artist studied marine ecology and ceramics at Skidmore College and received a Master of Arts degree in environmental studies from Brown University. Last year she was named one of the top 100 “Ocean Heroes” by Origin Magazine. Her most recent exhibition is “Sea Change” currently at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art through April 17, 2016. You can see more of Mattison’s finished and in-progress installations on her Instagram.
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Just days before the start of the UN COP21 Climate Conference held in Paris and during the French state of emergency following terrorist attacks earlier this November, 600 posters were covertly distributed and hung within the city. The posters were not taped to poles or distributed in public grounds, but secured behind glass at bus stops around the city. The large-scale posters were advertisement replacements, fake corporate ads designed by 82 artists across 19 countries to satirize messaging found throughout the Parisian streets.
Organized by the Brandalism project, the citywide sweep is meant to challenge the corporate takeover of the Paris climate talks, forming ads that target the link between corporations’ advertising with consumerism, global warming, and fossil fuel consumption. The posters reference many of the climate talks’ corporate sponsors including Air France, Dow Chemicals, GDF Suez (Engie). Many of the Photoshopped images use the same branding and voice as the original advertisement, forcing the audience to take a deeper look at the content of the hundreds of posters dotting their daily commute.
“By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez-Engie can promote themselves as part of the solution – when actually they are part of the problem,” said Brandalism’s Joe Elan.
Escif, Jimmy Cauty, Neta Harari, Bansky-collaborator Paul Insect, and Kennard Phillips were just a few of the dozens of artists who created posters for the Parisian installation. You can see many more of the 600 posters created to challenge the UN COP21 Climate Conference over on Street Art News and Brandlism’s own website here.
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