Lush radicalism

A reconstructed 6m-high tree, a version of Richard Buckminster Fuller’s utopian geodesic domes and an in-house farm of fruit and vegetables are just some of the surreally assembled works in a new Barbican Art Gallery exhibition in London. Transforming the gallery into an artificial indoor portion of nature, Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009 remembers the time when perception of nature was changed by a greater awareness of environmental issues, and some artists and architects began to integrate social action and protest into their work. ‘Visitors will feel like they are in a dystopian garden, a fragmented landscape composed of different installations,’ says Barbican Art Gallery curator Francesco Manacorda. ‘The exhibition will outline the overlooked historical trajectory of artists and architects working with and around the natural environment. Some fought and are still fighting to save the planet, others promote a more considerate integration between humans and nature.’ Henrik Håkansson’s Fallen Forest, a large section of lush green forest flipped to grow horizontally, Spiral Jetty from Robert Smithson of the Land Art movement, and images of the iconic interventions from Agnes Denes and Joseph Beuys are on display. There will also be a specially commissioned, off-site installation by architectural collective Exyzt. Radical in displacing nature indoors and in its political content, the show will urge people to reconsider how they see nature. ‘Not as something distant and idyllic, but as part of everyday life and choices,’ says Manacorda.

Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009 is at the Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London EC2 from
19 June to 18 October

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