Part of complete coverage on
Artists tackle 'man vs nature' debate
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 1015 GMT (1815 HKT)
Jo Coupe's casts plants in lead, creating deathly-looking objects. "Lead is not an environment-friendly material, it's visually deadly," Coupe says. "It's a metaphor for life and death."
'A metaphor for life and death'
Seeds of sexuality
Mushroom for art
The kernal of an idea
Man vs nature
- Sculpture show aims to make people engage with nature
- Curator David Worthington says art is capable of changing people's habits
- Artists communicate through emotions, rather than by placing demands, he says
(CNN) -- Forget the extreme environmental campaigns involving chaining oneself to an oil refinery or egging local politicians. The next big thing of environmental campaigning? Aesthetics.
A group of 20 artists decided to step away from slogans and campaigns and unveiled a sculpture exhibition designed to make suggestions, rather than demands. Called "Pertaining to Things Natural" the show at London's Chelsea Physic Garden puts together art pieces that respond to the environment and the current ecological debates.
Cathy Ward and Eric Wright are among the artists involved in the show. Their sculpture "Skyfield" addresses the issue of sustainability.
"As populations expand, pressure increases to produce more food on the limited and shrinking land that is available for cultivation," Ward explains.
We can affect people ideas of environmentalism on an emotional level through art and creativity.
Dave Worthington, curator
"Scientific advances in the genetics of plants as well as increased knowledge on the effects of diet on health are opening new and vital debates on our future," she says.
Her bright pink, double deck structure might not convey that message straight away, but a closer look shows that the sculpture could be used as a corn grower, suggesting a solution to the lack of cultivated land.
James P. Graham's "Golden Cage" is one of those more metaphoric pieces. The cage-like structure of volcanic rocks wrapped in gold wire symbolizes man's "attempts to imprison and control nature," a much discussed theme within the environmental debate.
The connection between art and environment is not a new one. From the pioneer Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who designed underground highways lined by trees and rooftop gardens, to sculptures made of recycled materials, creative souls have long tried to send out the environmental message.
But this latest addition to the dialog between art and environment carries more subtle message.
Sculptor Michael Shaw installed large inflatable balloons on trees.
"There is no 'Greenpeace message' in the piece," he says. "But it relates to environment, it is responsive to it. Where the sculpture is depends on the wind."
The curator of the show, David Worthington, says this is the way art can add to the environmental debate -- even without straightforward messages.
"We can affect people's consciousness about environment on intellectual level, through campaigns and information," he says and points out environmental groups around the world.
"But we can also do it on emotional level through art and creativity," he says. "The emotional level is more powerful."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
January 21, 2013 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Patricia Wu looks at efforts to combat food waste in Hong Kong.
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 0233 GMT (1033 HKT)
CNN's Pauline Chiou goes to Hong Kong's annual toy fair to find out about the growing market for eco-friendly toys.
December 31, 2012 -- Updated 0415 GMT (1215 HKT)
CNN's Liz Neisloss reports on a roof that is only a sample of the greening of Singapore's skyline.
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 0216 GMT (1016 HKT)
A dam project in Cambodia could destroy livelihoods and ecosystems, says Conservation International
December 18, 2012 -- Updated 0322 GMT (1122 HKT)
Shipping lines, port authorities and technology companies are taking the initiative to go green and reduce costs.
December 10, 2012 -- Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT)
Less than 20 miles from Singapore's skyscrapers is a completely different set of high-rise towers.
December 6, 2012 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
The Pitcairn Islands might only have 55 human inhabitants, but the waters surrounding them are teeming with marine life.
December 3, 2012 -- Updated 0322 GMT (1122 HKT)
Biofuel made from sugar cane waste in Brazil could revolutionize the global energy industry.
November 26, 2012 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
Many believe that fuel-cell cars will overtake electric vehicles in the near future.
November 19, 2012 -- Updated 0820 GMT (1620 HKT)
Modern and sustainable buildings in the UAE are taking cues from an ancient Arabic design tradition.
November 12, 2012 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
One man's artistic vision is distracting divers from Cancun's threatened underwater ecosystem.
November 12, 2012 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, has been plagued by water hyacinth plants for over two decades.
Just how much are natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef worth in monetary terms?