The Penumbral Age. Art in the time of planetary change. MSN Warsaw
The “The Penumbral Age. Art in the Time of Planetary Change” spans five decades, and highlights the strengthening of environmental reflections in the art of the late 1960s and early 1970s as well as the second decade of the 21st century. The first period is linked with intensification of pacifist, feminist and anti-racist movements and the formation of the contemporary ecological movement. At the same time new artistic phenomena arose, such as conceptualism, anti-form, land art and earth art. While introducing “geological” thinking about art, artists used impermanent organic materials or sought to entirely dematerialize the work of art.
We live in a time of planetary change affecting each and every one of us. Climate change influences every sphere of life, including thinking about art: the systems of its production and distribution, its social function and its relation to other disciplines, especially science.
The title of the exhibition at MSN in Warsaw is drawn from the book The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (2014), where the protagonists from the future date the “period of the penumbra” from the “shadow of anti-intellectualism that fell over the once-Enlightened techno-scientific nations of the Western world during the second half of the twentieth century, preventing them from acting on the scientific knowledge available at the time” and leading to tragedy.
Art will certainly not protect us against catastrophe, but it can help us arm ourselves with “strange tools” for the work of imagination and empathy. In her memorable manifesto from 1969, Mierle Laderman Ukeles posed the question: “After the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?” In works of art from recent decades we not only seek a visualization of processes occurring on our planet, but also discern possible proposals for the future. If ecological catastrophe is already happening (as the residents of the inundated islands of Nauru and Banaba in the Pacific would certainly agree), together we wonder, will we ever manage to clean up our planetary mess and rebuild our relations with other sentient beings? Will we manage to start over again?
Artists. Art in the time of planetary change.
Jonathas de Andrade, Isabelle Andriessen, Rasheed Araeen, Robert Barry, Kasper Bosmans, Boyle Family, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Dora Budor, Vija Celmins, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Alice Creischer, Czekalska + Golec, Betsy Damon, Tacita Dean, Thierry De Cordier, Agnes Denes, Ines Doujak, Jimmie Durham, Jerzy Fedorowicz, Hamish Fulton, Futurefarmers, Cyprien Gaillard, Simryn Gill, Wanda Gołkowska, Guerrilla Girls, Małgorzata Gurowska, Anna & Lawrence Halprin, Mitsutoshi Hanaga, Suzanne Husky, Ice Stupa Project, INTERPRT, Anja Kanngieser, Karrabing Film Collective, Beom Kim, Frans Krajcberg, Susanne Kriemann, Stefan Krygier, Katalin Ladik, Nicolás Lamas, John Latham, Richard Long, Antje Majewski, Nicholas Mangan, Krzysztof Maniak, Qavavau Manumie, Robert Morris, Shana Moulton & Nick Hallett, Teresa Murak, Peter Nadin & Natsuko Uchino & Aimée Toledano, Bruce Nauman, Nishiko, Isamu Noguchi, OHO, Dennis Oppenheim, Prabhakar Pachpute & Rupali Patil, Maria Pinińska-Bereś, Agnieszka Polska, Ludmiła Popiel, Joanna Rajkowska, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Oscar Santillán, Gerry Schum, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Anna Siekierska, Rudolf Sikora, Magdalena Starska, Irv Teibel, Akira Tsuboi, Maria Waśko, Ryszard Waśko, Lawrence Weiner, Magdalena Więcek, Andrea Zittel.