Nature has always inspired artists, sculptors and architects. On the one hand, it is reflected in landscapes, photographs and installations.
On the other hand, entire art movements are developing and successfully existing, which are in harmony with the environment or speak to us about environmental issues. Thus, the line between creativity and its original source is thinning, and this leads to unusual results.
What is environment sculpture
Environment sculpture (from the English environmental art) is art that is easily incorporated into the environment or, as it is called, “environmental art”. Such works are inspired by the natural environment of wildlife and exist in harmony with it. Environment sculpture aesthetics became widespread in the second half of the twentieth century. Conventionally, it is divided into two subspecies: real and virtual. The concept of environment sculpture is the fusion of the environment and a work of art. In this case the environment itself, i.e. the nature itself, is given a special aesthetic value.
Often, sculptors through such objects of “environmental art” raise environmental problems, as well as other socially important issues. Nevertheless, art historians advise perceiving the works of art in this style in a broader sense – to notice the connection between the artist, his creation and nature, as well as the deep philosophical meaning inherent in it. Every author interested in the development of environment sculpture aesthetics speaks to the observer about the unity of the urban and the natural.
The materials used are important for environment sculpture, and as a rule, they are natural resources: wood, earth, stones, coal, graphite. In this sense, the trend closely overlaps with Land Art – a trend in which artists fully integrate creativity into the environment, erasing the difference between them.
Art historians have noted that it is often difficult to draw a line between environment sculpture and land art, and many land art objects are also works of environment sculpture, which is commonly regarded as a broader movement.
In the broader sense, in terms of its ideological content, environment is quite close to hip penning, because the fusion with the environment is also expressed in the involvement of the public. For example, when the audience not only observes the concert, but also participates in it. It is this feature that contrasts traditional practices and environment sculpture. After all, art is usually considered standing apart from life, very different from it, but in this case the objects of art and nature interact with each other or even equate to each other.
In addition, we can talk about the mixing of art, politics, and ecology. Many actions and projects related to the environment sculpture aesthetics contain a powerful social or philosophical message in addition to the creative component.
Nature is an eternal source of inspiration
Man began to reflect nature in his art since Paleolithic times. There were no landscapes then, but primitive artists depicted other important information: animals, trees, their own figures. Thus, the environment and its objects for a long time became the main topic for creativity.
Closer to modernity, the practice of plane airs took shape. Artists would take their easels out into the open air, spend hours on their canvases applying layers of paint to convey all the details of what they saw, thus reflecting their connection with the outside world. Their intimate observations were translated into a truthful, subtle and sensual reflection of nature.
In contemporary art, the landscape format also remains important. It is true that today it is used more and more as a material for reinterpretation and irony. For example, the British artist Diane Burko paints the same view several times to show how it has changed over time. In this way, she draws attention to environmental issues and the need to rethink our relationship to wildlife. And Alexis Rockman’s vivid work reflects a pessimistic view of how our planet is suffering because of pollution.
Becoming a movement in its own right
As a separate avant-garde current environment began to form in the 1970s. At first, it was most associated with sculptural forms. Many artists noticed that monuments and similar architectural objects were outdated. The biggest flaw was that they didn’t blend in with their surroundings.
In 1968 there was a new format exhibition in New York called Earthworks. Several designers teamed up to create strange landscape objects. Most of them were presented only as photographs. They were too large to fit in a gallery. In addition, this presentation challenged the traditional notion of displays of the time.
In 1970, Robert Smithson’s famous Spiral Dam was created. It is a huge rock structure on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in the United States, visible from afar. Over time, its basalt base has deteriorated badly, prompting controversy about the need for reconstruction. The artist himself, by the way, is against the renovation: he believes that such decay adds zest and brings the structure even closer to its surroundings. Thus, the abstract forms of Kafka and Castaneda acquire real forms, because anyone looking at such an object can feel the infinite movement in the spiral of life.
A similar scale is reflected in Agnes Denes’ 1982 work entitled Wheat Field – Confrontation. The artist planted a wheat field in the center of New York City on the site of a landfill, signifying human priorities and values.
One of the first environmental actions was the project “7,000 Oaks”. In 1982, the artist Joseph Beuys proposed planting this exact number of trees all over Europe, from Germany to Russia. Local residents participated in the work, and a special stone slab was placed at each sapling.
Eco-art and nature activism
Separating nature from society’s activities is not always possible. Themes of ecology have made their way into politics, economics, and sociology. Art has not been left out of this trend. For example, some artists do not just incorporate objects into the environment or urban landscape, but speak directly about the problems of pollution.
Thus, eco-art is a narrower trend than environmentalism. Its official separation from its “brother” dates back to 1972. At that time George Kepes in his book “Environmental Art” defined that eco-art is aimed at saving, protecting and restoring the planet’s resources, attracting attention to the problems of ecology. Here the question of the inseparability of art from its environment recedes into the background. At the same time, artists are only a part of those activists who work for the preservation of nature.
Often eco-art works are created in the protest genre. Such objects do not just demonstrate problems, but also aim to form a critical attitude of the public to the problem of environmental pollution, and thus contribute to a change in people’s behavior and state policy with regard to environmental issues.
Such projects really become something more than the usual art. For example, a traveling installation of a thousand ice men by Nele Azevedo makes you think about global warming. And Benjamin Von Wong’s photo projects using trash and old parts of electronics are about recycling. One of his most famous works is Mermaids Hate Plastic.
Urban environment sculpture.
“Media art,” or environment sculpture, fits seamlessly into the infrastructure of a major city. Architects and sculptors use the space of populated areas as a platform for their work. This way they not only get a free public, but also talk to them about important issues.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, iconic works embedded in the public environment were created.
1. Mill Creek Canyon Park (Kent, USA).
This is a full-fledged 2.5-acre park, a stormwater dam and at the same time an object of art. It was erected by Herbert Bayer in 1982 and is still in operation today. In addition to its aesthetic functions, it also serves a utilitarian purpose. For example, it serves as water storage in case of drought.
2. “Monument to the Vanished Falcon.” (New York, USA)
Alan Sonfist became famous for the Time Landscape Project – his idea was to plant trees, shrubs and flowers that grew on this area before it was inhabited on a small piece of urban land. From 1965 to 1978, three stages of forest appeared here, from adult beeches to violets to young grasses. It is a peculiar monument to nature, similar in design to war memorials.
Another famous project of his in 2005 is the “Monument to the Vanished Falcon”. The artist planted across the surface of the silhouette rare species of plants, which may soon completely disappear from the face of the earth. Thus, Alan decided to attract the attention of the public to the problem of the disappearance of not only rare species of animals, but also plants.
3. “Wheat Field – Confrontation” (New York, USA)
In 1982, Agnes Denes planted an entire 2-acre plot of wheat near the World Trade Center in New York City. The site was a landfill from the construction of skyscrapers. The vacant lot was just a stone’s throw away from the center of the city. A few months later, a beautiful amber field appeared. It did not stand for nothing: its crops were sent to 28 cities of the world to fight hunger. The project demonstrated the confrontation between nature and civilization.
Can environment sculpture harm nature?
Strange as it may seem, not all environment sculpture artists calculate the impact of their works on nature. Sometimes it leads to embarrassment.
The eccentric sculptor Christo (real name: Christo Yavashev) became famous for wrapping entire islands and structures in brightly-colored fabrics. Just because of the hiding from the coastline in Australia in 1969, the public criticized the “great packer. Such experiments could have turned into an ecological disaster. Since then, he acted more cautiously, but managed to cover many more sites around the world.
In 1983 the artist “wrapped” with bright fabric eleven artificial islands in the Bay of Biscay, and in 1985, after ten years of negotiations with the French authorities – the Parisian Pont Neuf. Christo’s art included not only the idea itself, but also the realization of the project – it is not easy to convince top officials as well as ordinary farmers to erect such a large-scale structure.
Let us also mention a related trend in art, thrash art. The material for the works created in this genre is the usual garbage. On the one hand it draws attention to the problem of recycling, but on the other hand it can be dangerous for the environment. Pieces of trash sculptures fall on the ground, into the water, or are eaten by animals. Such consequences can hardly be justified by a noble goal.
After all, all art, in one way or another, affects nature. Zero effect cannot be achieved until all of humanity has switched to a closed-cycle economy that minimizes harm to the environment, which also involves switching to fully renewable resources.
What do you mean by environmental sculpture?
Environmental sculpture is an art form that uses the natural environment as its canvas.
Environmental sculptures are usually made of natural materials like stone, wood, plants and water. They are often created to be in harmony with the environment as a whole rather than standing out as an individual piece.
The idea of environmental sculpture started in the early 20th century when artists began to explore the idea of creating art that would blend in with its surroundings.
There are many examples of environmental sculptures throughout history but they became popularized by the famous American artist Robert Smithson who is credited with coining the term “land art.”
He was one of the first artists to create large-scale pieces that were intended for outdoor public viewing and he had a major influence on other artists who followed him.
What is an environmental sculpture quizlet?
Environmental sculpture quizlet is a website that provides quizzes on environmental sculptures. The quizzes are designed in the form of a game and has different levels which can be unlocked by answering questions correctly.
The website is designed to help people learn about the environmental sculptures, their history and their significance.
What are the types of environment sculpture?
Different types of environment sculpture are created for different purposes. Some sculptures are created to be a part of the natural landscape and some are made to be seen from far away.
Types of environment sculpture include:
– Landscape Sculpture
– Site-specific Sculpture
– Environmental Sculpture