Radical Nature Comes to the Art Gallery


Radical Nature, Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet is an exhibition that examines how nature has inspired artists and architects. The show takes a historical look at strange and experimental buildings since the 60's that have changed the way we see the world.

Sitting happily outside, like a geodesic spaceship is a little tea house called " I am so sorry. Goodbye" by Heather and Ivan Morison. It was inspired by all those utopian hippy communes in the 70's, but it has an upbeat and urban feel to it. Plus hibiscus tea is served inside.

Many of the older pieces are well known to TreeHugger readers. Of course Buckminster Fuller is included because of his revolutionary geodesic domes. Robert Smithson, the creator of Land Art and the Spiral Jetty, is represented by a film of the monumental piece of work.

Ant Farm, those genuine hippies who have now disappeared, has images of the Dolphin Embassy. This was a proposal for an embassy that would promote "interspecies communication". Apparently Ant Farm promoted the initiative to dolphins and humans alike.

The Island for Weeds, 2003 by Simon Starling, was inspired by the history of the rhododendron which was imported from Spain to Scotland and has spread like a weed there. He designed this floating structure filled with rhodo's for a lake in Scotland.

Agnes Denes planted a 2 acre wheatfield in New York's Battery Park in 1982. She will be doing a similar piece in London's east end, on an abandoned railway line this summer.

Henrik Hakansson is fascinated and inspired by tropical rainforests. He has taken a huge piece of rainforest and put it in pots and is growing it on its side, horizontally. There are strong grow lights which make it look like a movie set.

Does it all work? Yes and no. There are some fascinating experiments in utopian architecture which it's important for people to know about. Since they are 30 years old, the only material consists of photos and diagrams so it feels out of date. But there is not too much contemporary work that would give one hope for the future.

Along with the show, there are many talks and lectures. TreeHugger's very own Leonora Oppenheim will be leading a gallery tour from her perspective as a sustainable design practitioner. In addition, there will be a Wayward Plant Registry for homeless weeds that have been rejected. :: The Barbican

Tags: Activism | Architects | Artists | Designers