Rethink: contemporary art and climate change

On 31 October the international art exhibition “Rethink: Contemporary Art & Climate Change” opens in Copenhagen, Denmark, with great ambitions in both size and scope. While politicians will gather at the UN Climate Change Conference, 26 trendsetting Nordic and international artists display their work at some of Denmark’s finest art institutions, creating new ways for the public and politicians to grasp the complicated climate issues. Imagine a mountain moving to the beat of a seismograph, flying biospheres in the sky and hundreds of plastic bags with acid rain. What is it like when art merges with sounds from the Mexican jungle, satellite tracking data of the currently “most blue sky” or arctic birds? Rethink presents artworks by artist Tomas Saraceno (AR), Henrik Håkansson (SE), The Icelandic Love Corporation (IS), Superflex (DK), Bright Ugochukwu Eke (NG), Olafur Eliasson (IS/DK), and many others. In very different ways, all contributions give new perspectives on climate and environment.

Rethink is displayed at three of Copenhagen’s finest exhibition houses: the National Gallery of Denmark, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art and Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center and at Moesgård Museum in Aarhus. The exhibition is organized by the Alexandra Institute, a research-based limited company that bridges the gap between the IT corporate sector, research and education.

Rethink Relations
Rethink Relations bids the audience to reconsider our social relations and how we live. Argentinean artistic comet Tomas Saraceno puts a positive spin our relations in a world of climate changes and possible future overpopulation. His artwork “Flying Biospheres” is focused on positivity and solutions, lifting humanity up into the clouds to live in transparent mini globes in the sky. National Gallery of Denmark, 31/10-5/4
Rethink The Implicit
Rethink The Implicit brings to light the aspects of climate changes we take for granted or overlook. Nigerian artist Bright Ugochukwo Eke minimises the distance to the harsh reality of acid rain, using plastic, water and charcoal. He creates a thought-provoking meeting between the viewer and altered nature, yet still manages to create a beautiful installation. “Acid Rain” is based on Bright’s personal experience with acid rain and thus, he comments on humanity’s lack of respect for the environment. Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, 31/10-27/12
Rethink Kakotopia
Rethink Kakotopia considers the possibility of a future with catastrophic climate changes. Thus, Canadian artist Bill Burns presents his artwork as an atypical company. The firm sells gear resembling security equipment for people, but in miniature sizes for little animals like birds, mice, frogs etc. The surprising contrast between well-known gear and the altered sizes draws attention to the vulnerability of both animals and humans. Suddenly, they seem absurd, the many security measures we put together to be on the “safe side” when nature changes. Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, 31/10-10/1
Rethink Information
Rethink Information deals with new technologies and how to use them to better understand climate changes. For instance, the artwork “Planetary Pledge Pyramid” includes Facebook in creating a worldwide pyramid game where players systematically recruit 5 friends. The artistic group The People Speak wants to engage people in a global discussion about climate changes within 13 weeks. People are encouraged to donate money and then democratically vote for their ultimate collective action in December. Moesgård Museum, and in public spaces from 31/10

Pictures from above:
Allora & Calzadilla, A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear, 2008. Photo the artist Statens Museum for Kunst
Bill Burns, Safety Gear for Small Animals, 1994. Photo the artist Kunsthallen Nikolaj
Icelandic Love Corporation, Dynasty, 2007. ?Photo the artists ?Kunsthallen Nikolaj
Tea Mäkipää, Link, 2009. Photo the artist Kunsthallen Nikolaj
Bright Ugochukwo Eke, Acid Rain, 2008. Photo Anders Sune Berg?Den Frie Udstillingsbygning
Tomas Saraceno, Biospheres, 2009. ?Photo Anders Sune Berg ?Statens Museum for Kunst
Haubitz + Zoche, Water knows no walls, 2009. Photo the artists Kunsthallen Nikolaj
Tue Greenfort, Der er ikke en frø, ikke en fugl, ikke en fisk..., 2009. Photo Anders Sune Berg?Kunsthallen Nikolaj

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