Leading artists add humour and wonder to warning signs in Disappearing Nature

By Culture24 Reporter | 02 May 2014

Exhibition Preview: Disappearing Nature: Artists Supporting Life on Earth, Gallery 8, London, until May 3 2014

A photo of a boy on a beach in Haiti putting fish into a wooden boat
Robin Moore went to Haiti as part of Disappearing Nature© Robin Moore
A charity-run exhibition marking the 50th exhibition of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s imperilled Red List of Threatened Species, Disappearing Nature might provoke some trepidation of art consumed by worthiness.

But organisers Synchronicity Earth have added a welcome dust of humour to the gravity of the situation, given a surreal twist by the shaman himself, Marcus Coates.

A photo of a layered artwork showing all sorts of creatures on a multicoloured mountain
Alice Shirley, Mountain© Alice Shirley
In Self Portrait Underground (Worcestershire), Coates can be seen lying in a self-dug hole as a piece of land art, momentarily mimicking the species forced to hide from humans to ensure their survival.

Jeremy Deller, meanwhile, has taken a snippet from his acclaimed current touring show, English Magic, to provide an up-close look at the African Eagle Owl and Harrier Hawk in flight.

And Robin Moore – an award-winning wildlife photographer and conservationist – captures the kind of beach scenes which make any English coastline seem filtered through grey spectacles, as two Haitian boys go fishing in an attempt to provide enough food and water for their families.

It’s all been overseen by renowned science-art innovators Invisible Dust. “This has been an amazing opportunity,” says Alice Sharp, the team’s Director who has curated the show.

“It highlights both organisations’ work with leading scientists and looks at the human influence on the future of the natural environment. These are exciting themes for artists to explore.”

Elsewhere on the global trip, Dan Holdsworth uses a subliminal style of photography to portray Iceland’s landscape, and Tania Kovat lines up two glass vessels connected by seawater from the point where the Tasman Sea meats the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand.

Twigs are Adam Chodzko’s trap in an improvised piece of camera kit, while Alice Shirley’s paintings bring together every living creature on earth, and Mariele Neudecker’s video, Dark Years Away, is attached to a remotely operated vehicle which plunged 3,000 metres beneath the sea, tracked in collaboration with marine biologists at Oxford University.

Academy Award-winning documentary artist Zana Briski’s large-scale black and white photos have a fearsome yet fragile subject: the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla of Rwanda.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of an owl spreading its wings
African Eagle Owl© Courtesy Jeremy Deller / British Council, commissioned for British Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2013
A photo of a large owl flying across a green grass landscape under a blue sky
Harrier Hawk© Courtesy Jeremy Deller / British Council, commissioned for British Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2013
An image of two clear circular spheres filled with water
© Tania Kovats
An image of a swirling painting of a circular blue sea against yellow
Alice Shirley, Ice© Alice Shirley
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