Latitudes / Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Greenwashing. Ambiente: Pericoli, Promesse e Perplessità (Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities)

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, 29 February–18 May 2008

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An exhibition with works by: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Lara Almarcegui, Maria Thereza Alves, Ibon Aranberri, Amy Balkin, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Chu Yun, A Constructed World, Minerva Cuevas, Ettore Favini, Cyprien Gaillard, Tue Greenfort*, Norma Jeane, Cornelia Parker, Jorge Peris, Wilfredo Prieto, RAF / Reduce Art Flights, Tomás Saraceno, Santiago Sierra, Simon Starling, Fiona Tan, Nikola Uzunovski, Sergio Vega, Wang Jianwei and James Yamada. Curated with Ilaria Bonacossa (Curator, Fondazione Sandretto).

What is at stake in today's constant bombardment of ecological guilt, corporate agendas and political point-scoring with respect to so-called 'environmental issues'? How can we balance personal responsibility with collective consensus, local with global, or short-term remedies with visionary strategies?

The works of the 25 artists and artist groups presented in ‘Greenwashing. Environment: Promises, Perils and Perplexities’ at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin did not just passively lament the degradation of our planet, or provide pragmatic solutions. Instead they actively articulated the contradictions and responsibilities that we encounter personally and as a society. The terminology and agency around 'the environment' and sustainability has become increasingly asymmetric and immaterial. Emissions' offsetting, food miles, environmental marketing, carbon debt, ecological footprints, and so on, are all recently coined terms, tied to the anxious sense that the processes and practices of modernisation and globalisation, industrialisation and urbanisation have induced unprecedented deprivations and intrusions on the planet. Consequently there is the familiar refrain to limit growth, particularly in the developing world.

The artists presented in Greenwashing – a term used to describe misleading ecological practices – did not necessarily proclaim a 'correct' ethical or 'green' agenda, but allowed the possibility for broadening and analysing our understanding of what ecology might mean today. Their works often adopted process-based and speculative approaches concerning fundamental ecological subjects such as energy and resource use. Likewise, several artists in the exhibition considered waste, water, land use, the air we breathe and the oil we consume, offering a critical perspective on the perils, promises and perplexities that have emerged as our climate changes.

The 192-page full-colour catalogue embraced environmentally-conscious design with a degree of irony, each of the books' thirteen sections were printed on a different 'eco-paper' with their corresponding eco-credentials.

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