Cyprien Gaillard
Nouveau pittoresque/The New Picturesque, 2007
Acrylic paint and enamel on canvas
50 x 60 cm each
Courtesy of the artist and Cosmic Galerie, Paris

February 29, 2008

Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities

29 February – 18 May 2008

Turin, Italy
+39 011 3797600
info [​at​]

Curators: Ilaria Bonacossa and Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna)

Artists: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Lara Almárcegui, Maria Thereza Alves, Ibon Aranberri, Amy Balkin, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Chu Yun, A Constructed World, Minerva Cuevas, Ettore Favini, Cyprien Gaillard, Tue Greenfort, Norma Jeane, Cornelia Parker, Jorge Peris, Wilfredo Prieto, RAF/Reduce Art Flights, Tomás Saraceno, Santiago Sierra, Simon Starling, Fiona Tan, Nikola Uzunovski, Sergio Vega, Wang Jianwei, James Yamada.

“As rockets go to the moon the darkness around the Earth grows deeper and darker”
Robert Smithson

GREENWASHING presents the work of 25 international artists and artist-groups whose practice suggests that the literalism embedded in old-fashioned concepts such as ‘environmentalism’ and ‘nature’ is not equipped to comprehend the ecological territory of our time. Today we negotiate an evermore urgent and pervasive ecological (and thereby cultural, political, social and economic) arena that is darkly shadowed by potentially catastrophic ecosystemic collapse. Yet in the face of a constant bombardment of eco-economic guilt, corporate agendas and political point-scoring, what might emerge are genuine perplexities and false promises instead of the possibilities for unleashing creative change.

The terminology and agency around ‘the environment’ and sustainability has become increasingly asymmetric and immaterial. Emissions’ offsetting, food miles, environmental marketing, carbon debt, ecological footprints, and so on, are all recently-coined terms, tied to the anxious sense that the processes and practices of modernisation and globalisation, industrialisation and urbanisation have induced unprecedented deprivations and intrusions on the planet. Consequently there is the familiar refrain to limit growth, particularly in the developing world. Yet how do we reconcile this with the observation that ecological concerns are far greater in affluent societies where more basic needs have been met? And how can we more generally balance personal responsibility with collective consensus, local with global, or short-term remedies with visionary strategies? This exhibition sets out to pose such questions.

The artists presented in GREENWASHING often adopt process-based and speculative approaches in order to articulate energy and material transformations—fundamental ecological processes. Likewise, several works in the exhibition consider repositories of energy—whether waste, water, or oil—in ways that reveal previously obscured patterns, while similarly ‘upcycling’ meaning.

The diverse practices represented in the exhibition share a strategy in that they do not just passively lament the degradation of our planet, or only provide sound technical solutions. Instead they actively articulate the contradictions and responsibilities that we encounter personally and as a society. Art here does not necessarily proclaim a ‘correct’ ethical or green choice, but allows the possibility for broadening and analysing our perceptions and actions. It sets a critical attitude into motion that intervenes and infiltrates, re-interprets and decodes humans’ relation to non-human life, as well as to each other.

A catalogue to the exhibition will be published by The Bookmakers, Ed.

GREENWASHING will run at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo centre for contemporary art in via Modane 16, Turin, Italy from 29 Feb. to 11 May 2008: Tue/Sun, midday-8pm, Thurs midday-11pm. Closed on Mondays.

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo


February 29, 2008

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