Relations of Nature. Art, architecture and politics in the climate crisis.

Art Academy Düsseldorf Lecture Series Winterterm 2022/23

In the face of a climate and environmental catastrophe that can no longer be denied, the
judgmental dichotomy of culture and nature must be abandoned in favor of a
multiplicity of interconnections and dependencies, but without leveling differences. This
raises the question of the role and status of the arts. It is not only in the present day that
art and architecture have eluded the modern reifying understanding of nature and have
been in a special position to explore new or alternative relationships and to give them
perceptible, material form. Not infrequently, this was also accompanied by a questioning
of the modern concept of the artwork.
Against the background of an already advancing climate change and a geopolitical crisis
in its wake, the question of alternative „relations of nature“ to an extractive and
dispositive access to nature with all its political and (neo-)colonial implications is not
only urgent. The question of the role and place of the arts also arises with even greater
radicality. The subject is currently proving to be one of the essential themes of the art of
our time, even in the most important exhibitions. But what does it mean for art to
respond to the climate crisis? Is this a curtailment of artistic freedom or rather the
occasion for the transformation of outdated understandings of art? And what does this
mean not only for artistic production, but also for art institutions such as art academies,
museums, galleries?
The Art Academy Düsseldorf can not only look at a certain historical as well as present
concern with the connection between art and ecology, it has also raised the question of
alternative forms of organization with the emergence of a climate working group and
the organization of the climate justice week „re:ac now“. The lecture series continues
these debates by asking artists, architects, theorists and curators about the role and
possibilities of the arts and their institutions in climate change. With an excursion to the
Emscher Art Trail, where art can be seen in the ruins of an extractive economy, and a
concluding panel discussion at K20, it also brings these questions into the city and its
own environs.
Organized by Robert Fleck and Francesca Raimondi in cooperation with the Climate
Group of the Art Academy Düsseldorf

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