Residency
6 - 29 / 7 / 2020

LOST & FOUND

Participants: Robert Gschwantner,

In my work I investigate the unstable relationship between natural forces and human intervention. My interests are European landscapes that have been fundamentally changed by the presence of man for economic, ecological or political reasons, either through industrial accidents or pollution. The inspiration for my art is a single German term ‚Ölteppich‘, literally ‚oil carpet‘ – the ecological disaster caused by a gigantic oil slick. I weave hundreds or sometimes thousands of meters of transparent PVC tubing into carpets and canvas (“oil paintings”) and fill them with water, sludge or crude oil. The liquids I collect from seacoasts which where site of an environmental disaster or from landscapes like islands, canals or lakes that have been designed or reshaped according to man-made functions and aesthetics. As part of the artwork the liquids are both, material and a relic of the original landscape. My wall-mounted works are exhibited in combination with photographs, videos and drawings related specifically to each project, to get a different point of view of my corresponding themes.

In front of Nisyros lies Yali island on which there is a white sandy beach, advertised as destination for tourists. Despite the beach gets cleaned up every year from washed up plastic waste, the colorful plastic particles are clearly visible in the sand. Scientific estimates assume around six to ten percent of global plastic production finds its way into the world’s oceans. Alone in the Mediterranean every year end up a half million tons of plastic waste. This corresponds to 33,800 plastic bottles per minute. The plastic gets ground and crushed by the wind, weather and tides into microplastic which deposits on seafloor mixed up with beach sand. During my residency at Sterna, I would like to collect plastic particles from the beach of Yali island. Mixed together with seawater, it will be the filling material of a carpet woven from several hundred meters of PVC tubing. Photos will document the action of collecting and the creation of the carpet.

 

In collaboration with NISYRIO.