Friday, January 29, 2010

Earth: Art of a changing world

Earth: Art of a changing world at the Royal Academy of Arts is an interesting mix of established and emerging artists.
Chris Jordan's 'Paper Bags'
was my favourite piece in the show. Jordan is a digital artist who draws heavily on statistics to inform his work. This piece references the 1.14 million paper bags used in American supermarkets every hour. From a distance there is the impression of looking through the branchless trunks of a forest of silver birch trees. Closer inspection reveals layer upon layer of stacked paper resembling an ever increasing archival stack that holds untold secrets.
Cornelia Parker's 'Heart of Darkness' is formed from the charred remains of a Florida forest fire. This piece benefited from being given plenty of time for contemplation. The work is a very delicate balance of small twigs and weightier limbs that interact to produce a subtly kinetic whole. The tiny movements elicited by the buildings air conditioning are a gentle reminder of the way in which our perception of events is mediated by the passage of time.
Sophie Calle's 'North Pole' is a poignant tribute to her late mother. Among her mother's three unfulfilled wishes was a visit to the North Pole. Calle used a research trip to Cape Farewell to take some of her mothers treasured possessions and bury them on the edge of the glacier. This process is documented in a series of photographs and three sandblasted porcelain plaques in the shape of the port holes through which she first observed the glacier.

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