Sustainable Movement in Art
The expressions “Sustainable movement” or “Sustainability” have become prevalent in our everyday life. Sustainability exists in all areas of life: sustainable fashion (use of Eco-friendly fabrics and recycled materials), sustainable economic development (sustains natural resources and the environment for future generations), sustainable agriculture (production with minimum effect on nature) and our well-being (high standards of living securing of well-being for future generations).
Art has followed the global trend and made a substantial contribution to sustainability. The main idea of sustainable art is to raise public awareness towards environmental, political and social issues through works of art. Sustainable artists seek to optimize the use of natural resources to reduce the environmental footprint of their work as well as encourage society to become more conscious of their impact on the environment and future of our planet.
Types of Sustainable Art
Artists apply their creativity in a multifaceted way and thus sustainability in art can take on a variety of forms depending on the materials used and the purpose behind the piece.
Below we will celebrate and highlight some of the most significant types of sustainable art and some of the most notable artists who applied their craftsmanship to help the world become a more environmentally friendly, peaceful, and prosperous place.
Land Art also known as Earth Art or Eco Art is an ecological movement which appeared in 1960s and 1970s. Land art uses natural materials such as wood, earth, sand, stones, water; it is often created in remote locations to draw attention to the power and beauty of nature.
The most prominent example of Land Art is Spiral Jetty. Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture constructed in April, 1970 that is considered to be the central work of American sculptor Robert Smithson. Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks and water, Spiral Jetty forms 460 meters long, 4,6 meters wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake.
The Green Cathedral or De Groene Kathedraal located near Almere Netherlands is one more example of the most awesome and outstanding creativity of site-specific Art. It is a very creative planting of Lombardy poplars that imitates the size and shape of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims, France.
Renewable Energy Sculpture
This art movement brings on sculptures that apply solar, wind, hydroelectric, tidal, and geothermal resources to create movement and energy. Such sculptures are functionally both renewable energy generators and an artwork, fulfilling aesthetic and cultural functions. Although this blend of science and art is relatively new to sustainable art but it has been gaining confident momentum.
The idea of renewable energy sculptures has been introduced by ecofuturist visionaries such as artists Patrice Stellest, Sarah Hall, Julian H. Scaff, Andre Brossil, Elena Paroucheva, architects Laurie Chetwood and Nicholas Grimshaw. By creating unique pieces of art, the artists remind viewers how magnificent and mighty our nature is and they believe that the aesthetics of the artworks are inextricably linked to their ecological function.
Elena Paroucheva is an artist who is notable for her wind sculptures. Ondine is one of her distinguished sculptures. Elena created it in 2004 using copper and soldering. The sculpture comes in a form of a woman with what seems to be jewellery around her neck and on her wrist. A closer look will reveal that the jewellery is a set of wind turbines.
Elena’s thought-provoking designs of her art aim to inspire social awareness of the advantages of using wind energy.
The spherical Sun Power Generator is not just an artistic interpretation of renewable energy but it is also a renewable energy invention. This sculpture is a structure that generates twice the normal amount of solar energy possible with a solar panel. This also works using significantly less surface area. We can use this invention to charge an electric car or serve as a high-power lamp at night.
In the hands of some genius artists even glass bottles, plastic bags and other waste could become a form of sustainable art. This art movement known as Upcycled Art or Recycled Art focuses attention on the degradation of the planet and inspires social awareness on ecological issues. The possibilities of their creativity stretch as far as the imagination.
Therefore a growing number of artists, also known as upcyclers, are committed to this type of sustainable art, of whom the following stand out:
Nick Gentry is a London-based artist whose distinctive feature is to recycle used floppy disks. Moreover he uses used film rolls, VHS disks, and x-rays, which he skillfully harmonizes with his portraits. Nick paints extraordinarily futuristic portraits on them. His work is influenced by the development of consumerism, technology and cyber culture in our society.
Khalil Chishtee is a Pakistani artist who creates life-size sculptures out of recycled plastic bags. Though he sometimes uses tables, chairs, or other objects as the armature for his more extensive installations, Chishtee mostly works only with the bags themselves, constructing his sculptures by artfully manipulating the plastic as if he were working with clay. His work is one part commentary on waste and consumption, and one part reflection of the human experience.
Yuken Teruya is a Japanese artist based in New York City. He works in a variety of media including toilet paper rolls, paper shopping bags and butterfly chrysalises. His main idea is to transform rubbish from some of the biggest brands into mystical forests. Teruya creates his work through the ancient Japanese art of Kirigami, a variation of origami which instead of simply folding paper, also includes the cutting of paper. His work is included in the public collections of some of the most prestigious museums worldwide including, the MoMA, The Guggenheim in New York, the Charles Saatchi Collection in London and the Mori Art Museum in Japan.
Communicating, clarifying, engaging and motivating people about sustainability will initiate change. And the power of the arts to grab attention and change perception can be very useful in promoting sustainability.
What is your opinion? Do you think art brings awareness to issues of sustainability? Let us know what you think the role of art in sustainability is?