Art & Climate Change

Our first major touring exhibition created in partnership with the Natural History Museum – a unique insight into the experiences of artists who have voyaged to the High Arctic with Cape Farewell.

London, Liverpool, Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo, USA
2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2010

Ackroyd & Harvey, Kathy Barber, David Buckland, Peter Clegg, Siobhan Davies, Gautier Deblonde, Max Eastley, Nick Edwards, Antony Gormley, Alex Hartley, David Hinton, Gary Hume, Ian McEwan, Michèle Noach, Rachel Whiteread

Cape Farewell’s Art & Climate Change, created in partnership with the Natural History Museum in 2006, presented contemporary art, designed to deepen our understanding of climate change. Originally shown in the Natural History Museum’s Jerwood Gallery, the exhibition offered a unique insight into the experiences of artists and writers who have traveled to the High Arctic with Cape Farewell. The exhibition was shown as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2006, in Hamburg 2007, 2008 in Madrid and Tokyo and finally in 2010 at Cranbrook Art Museum, Michigan. The Barbican Touring Ltd managed the exhibition’s international tour, bringing Art & Climate Change to a worldwide audience. The tour launched in February 2008 at the Fundacion Canal in Madrid, and with interest from a whole host of international venues toured the world for more than three years.

“We are shaped by our history and biology and to frame our plans within the short term, within the scale of a single lifetime. Now we are asked to address the well-being of unborn individuals we will never meet and who, contrary to the usual terms of human interaction, will not be returning the favour.”

Ian McEwan 2005

Through photography, film and video, sound and painting each artwork is a personal response to the effects of changing weather patterns, disappearing ice, rising sea levels, alterations in biodiversity and the build-up of toxic chemicals in the seemingly pristine landscape of the Arctic.

For Stranded, Ackroyd & Harvey retrieved the bones from a carcass of a minke whale beached near Skegness. Creating a 6 metre long sculpture using the entire whale skeleton they applied a special crystallisation process encrusting the bones with alum crystals. In the gallery the sculpture is displayed on a low illuminated plinth. The precious fragility of the sculpture enhances the importance of the whale and how it acts as a barometer in a complex marine environment.

Working with fashion designer Jonathan Saunders, Siobhan Davies created a projection, Endangered Species. A tiny woman dances gracefully inside a museum display case, her movements exaggerated by a costume of long bending rods that increase in number as her dance progresses. Whilst at first they liberate by extending the boundaries of her body, the many rods eventually restrict and finally extinguish her small life form.

David Buckland exhibited his glacial Ice Texts alongside The End of Ice – a large-scale video projection of the 42-minute demise of an iceberg.

Nymark (Undiscovered Island), Alex Hartley photographic piece echoed the journeys of the early Arctic explorers in describing the process of finding and naming a ‘new’ island; one only uncovered in the last five years by a retreating glacier. The Svalbard Series, Gautier Deblonde’s photo-essay documents the stark vagaries of human existence in the High Arctic.

Other works included photographic representation of Antony Gormley and Peter Clegg’s Three Made Places, an ice work created in the High Arctic, and Gary Hume’s Hermaphrodite Polar Bear. Resonating eerily through the gallery space was Ice Field, Max Eastley’s soundwork of cracking, melting ice.

Published by Cape Farewell to accompany the exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Burning Ice: Art & Climate Change charts the experiences of artists who have voyaged with Cape Farewell. It also features essays from leading scientists, advisers and other specialists on climate change, energy efficiency, ocean science and carbon trading. To mark it’s 10th anniversary in 2016 Burning Ice was republished by Gaia Project in partnership with Cape Farewell. The book is available for £20 from Cornerhouse Publications.

Find out more

International Tour

See Also

Burning Ice book cover

Burning Ice

Cape Farewell’s first major book title, republished in 2016 to mark it’s 10th anniversary. Available for £20
figures walk on ice in a vast Arctic landscape

Art From The Arctic

Our first film, directed by David Hinton and co-produced by the BBC, seen by a worldwide audience of over 12 million in TV broadcasts and film festivals across the world

Art From The Arctic DVD

The DVD version of our first film Art From The Arctic documents early Cape Farewell expeditions with renowned artists and climate scientists. Sold out.

Skip links

  1. Top
  2. Skip to content top
  3. Skip to main menu
  4. Skip to search