Back to Earth reminds us of the fragility of the earth immediately beneath our feet, and the planet we depend on.
Part of an ongoing project that began at Serpentine in 2019, the exhibition invites artistic responses to the climate emergency, bringing together different kinds of research, materials and approaches from around the planet to offer insights into artists’ concerns, ideas and hopes for the future.
Karrabing Film Collective’s moving image work and Dineo Seshee Bopape’s installation and sonic collaboration with Katy’taya Catitu Tayassu highlight the inextricable links that bind the human body to the land it lives on. Processes of recording massive human intervention, both to the surface of the planet and to its atmosphere, can be found in Carolina Caycedo’s wallpaper, which follows dammed waterways in South and North America, while Giles Round’s toy-like models are inspired by some of the many satellites that orbit above us, constantly monitoring climate and ecological events.
Just as human behaviour is the impetus for and continues to contribute to climate change, the need for transitions to new processes and ways of thinking has never been greater. Calls to action and timely messages designed by artists are displayed around the perimeter of the gallery, while spaces for quiet reflection can be found in the central brick rooms. Tabita Rezaire/AMAKABA & Yussef Agbo-Ola/Olaniyi Studio have designed an enveloping space of healing, full of medicinal herbs, while Brian Eno’s new sound and light installation reminds us of our ability to respond emotionally and sympathetically to a constantly evolving environment.
This exhibition also engages our senses, through the work of smell researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas and via the CLIMAVORE menu developed by Cooking Sections in the Magazine café. The information provided by Superflux and Studio Ghazaal Vojdani in the gallery shop, which accompanies a selection of books and products, is intended to aid in better consumer choices. The Back to Earth exhibition also stretches outwards to Kensington Gardens, with a garden designed for pollinators by an Artificial Intelligence algorithm developed by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, and to a satellite exhibition of artist posters at 180 Strand. Various off–site spaces around London are hosting live programmes during the summer.
Back to Earth Exhibition Artists: Agnes Denes, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Brian Eno, Carolina Caycedo, Cooking Sections, Dineo Seshee Bopape and Katy’taya Catitu Tayassu, Formafantasma, Giles Round, Karrabing Film Collective, Sissel Tolaas, Superflux and Studio Ghazaal Vojdani, Tabita Rezaire/AMAKABA and Yussef Agbo-Ola/OLANIYI STUDIO.
Posters by Adham Faramawy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Asad Raza, Ben Frost, Black Quantum Futurism, Bones Tan Jones, Cooking Sections, David Adjaye, Es Devlin, Etel Adnan, Gabriela Hearst, Himali Singh Soin, Hyphen-Labs X Allison Akootchook Warden, Jacob V Joyce and Rudy Loewe, James Bridle, Kate Raworth and Ruurd Priester, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Koo Jeong-A, London Fieldworks and Gustav Metzger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Manthia Diawara, Martino Gamper, Newton Harrison, Parag Khanna, Pedro Reyes, Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal, Raymond Pettibon, Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Seba Calfuqueo, Torkwase Dyson. More projects/podcasts/artists/campaigns here.
Back to Earth team: Eva Speight, Curatorial Assistant, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Kostas Stasinopoulos, Associate Curator, Lucia Pietroiusti, Strategic Consultant, Ecology and Founder, General Ecology, Rebecca Lewin, Curator, Exhibitions and Design, Sarah Hamed, Assistant Exhibitions Curator, Holly Shuttleworth, Former Producer, Jo Paton, Former Chief Producer
Exhibition Production team: Serpentine: Halime Özdemir, Production Manager, Joel Bunn, Installation Manager, Kit Withnail, Head of Production and Delivery, Mike Gaughan, Gallery Manager. ADI: Ant Marlow, Clem Routledge, Jamie Maule, Josh Love, Owen Lewis, Sara Smith. Beyond Surface: David Northedge, Jack Evans, Noel Clueit. Technicians: Anthony Silvester, Arif Ozakca, Erika Lewis, Jean-Philippe Dordolo, Joe Richards, Kenji Takahashi, Paul Embleton, Rae Morgan Hicks, Sam Castro, Timo Kube, Zsuzsa Benke