How have our cultural identities transformed to adapt to climate and weather? We reflect on the ongoing climate emergency, but often without taking action, being overtaken by the magnitude of the problem and thinking that nowadays it is something too big to control. Fondazione Prada to explain us how it impacts our realities starts with art, and how it has been affected by weather phenomena, influencing the actions and destinies of every human being in every region of the world. Every Body Talks About the Weather, a research project conceived by curator Dieter Roelstraete, explores the meanings of weather in the visual universe, taking atmospheric conditions as a premise for addressing this alarming situation. The project was created with the idea of raising awareness by showing people the link between art and science, framing the impact of the environmental crisis through evocation and representation. The exhibition is another addition to a much broader project that the Foundation is developing, with an attempt to address cultural challenges through artistic creation. Miuccia Prada confirms she feels the need to disseminate new knowledge and share the results of academic and scientific research with a wide audience, while at the same time trying to create connections between distant cultural contents; a way to broaden the perspective with which we examine the cultural trends of our present and future.
“The project was born with the idea of taking the weather as a starting point, establishing an empirical equation between meteorology and climatology, using the tools of art and science together.”
The title of the exhibition comes from the slogan Alle reden vom Wetter. Wir nicht, which translated means “Everyone talks about the weather. We don’t”. The phrase, which comes from a poster created in 1968 by the German Socialist Student Union, has been modified for the occasion by changing the ending to “we too”. If at the time the question of climate was the last thing society was interested in, nowadays it is the most important fact of life that everyone is already talking about or should be talking about. Indeed, everyone talks about the weather and discusses the climate, as the title of the Fondazione Prada research suggests. However, environmental urgency remains a strangely absent topic in the dynamics that attract the attention of the more mainstream art world. Our identities threatened by climate danger do not address the issue in sufficient depth, becoming too broad and paralysing a topic for contemporary authors and artists. Every Body Talks About the Weather invites us to reflect, to try to understand how we can help our planet, and to try to address the problem, as opposed to avoid it. The exhibition, shown in Venice in the spaces of the historical palace Ca’ Corner della Regina, develops on two levels, interweaving the two dimensions of research, the artistic and the scientific. Welcoming the public is a large ledwall broadcasting a loop of weather forecasts extracted from media and online from all over the world; a real and at the same time ironic way to kick off the research. The halls of the palace, on the other hand, host historical and contemporary works of art that reveal the artists’ constant focus on “talking about the weather”, from en plain air paintings to recent multimedia installations.
Paintings and prints by the great masters of art share the same space with more recent works by new contemporary artists, thus establishing a close connection between past, present and future. At the same time, it also shows how different generations represent the climate theme differently, triggering opposing visions and discordant notions. Clouds are a subject explored at length over the course of time, becoming a common tool for several artists involved in the project: some turn it into an entity dense with political significance, others depict it as an element of mystery and wonder, and again, it becomes a representation of the uncontrollable and frightening force of nature. Some works highlight how weather changes have influenced art history, giving the viewer the opportunity to reflect on the current situation by understanding what the environment was like in the past. Combining contemporary art and historical investigation, the Raqs Media Collective presents Deep Breath, an underwater film documenting three divers searching for a fragment of an ancient Greek aphorism about the dangers of oblivion. At the same time, the group sheds light on the catastrophic condition of their hometown Delhi, the most polluted capital city in the world. The works in Every Body Talks About the Weather are testimonies to a relationship with the climate in which interest in the atmosphere and its agents plays a leading role. Today we are facing the most extensive environmental change caused by us, human beings: the exhibition organised by the Foundation does not suggest solutions, but contributes to a greater awareness between art and science, between denunciation and study.
For further information fondazioneprada.org.