What are the roles that artists and art workers play in the climate justice movements? For the first time in Estonia, Tallinn Art Hall presents artist Oliver Ressler’s remarkable recent body of work, Barricading the Ice Sheets (2019–2022), that sheds critical light on these movements in Europe and beyond. The exhibition is curated by Corina L. Apostol, who has worked together with the artist on previous projects related to environmental and political concerns.
A multimedia artist based in Vienna, Ressler has over the years sustained an artistic practice around this topic that brings together art and activism, placing emphasis on the climate breakdown that affects all areas of our lives as well as forms of collective resistance and presenting constructive alternatives for society. Ressler himself has insisted on the importance of artists and cultural practitioners being part of the “climate justice movement” as opposed to the “climate movement,” offering examples of deeper engagement between art and social movements. The title of the exhibition refers to the momentous tasks that the climate justice movement takes on and how it goes about to achieve its goals. As the artist remarks, the action of actually barricading the melting ice sheets is impossible in actuality. And yet in the face of this, the movement, deeply aware of the stakes of the interlacing threats to our planet, is nonetheless endeavoring to achieve what has never been done before. Can the seemingly impossible become achievable through collective action?
The exhibition in the Main Hall of the institution comprises a multi-
Barricading the Ice Sheets aims to give an overview of the forms of mobilisations (activities, protests, gatherings, meetings) of worldwide actors for change. While drawing attention to the inadequacies of the global climate policy through key regional events, Ressler also self-
After experiencing the exhibition, how may we as artists, citizens, activists, students, and community organizers collectively re-
What does Ressler’s oeuvre bring to these local and regional challenges? What does it unearth regarding the possibilities of artists and art workers’ collective engagement in social movements? What does it tell us about the changing nature of art activism which in the face of enormous stakes for our planet can seem all but powerless? Art is never neutral, and has the capacity to change an environment as well as how we frame our existence and our actions. When artists works with activists, how does the process and the result sustain their ideas and political practices? In staging this exhibition at the Tallinn Art Hall, in a context that is visibly affected by climate change despite the myth of Estonia as a green forest nation, we invite audiences to visualise the subjectivities, struggles and truths of those engaged in social movements that bridge the barriers of geopolitical fragmentation.
About Tallinn Art Hall
The Tallinn Art Hall Foundation is a contemporary art institution established in 1934 with an exhibition programme in three galleries on the central square of Tallinn—the Tallinn Art Hall, the Art Hall Gallery and the nearby City Gallery.
Tallinn Art Hall addresses the most pressing issues in contemporary art and society, provides a fascinating programme for contemporary audiences and helps artists create new exhibitions and works. We are part of the larger international contemporary art scene and mediate an active exchange of ideas between local and international art scenes and audiences. In addition, we also organise exhibitions abroad.
Exhibition 27 August -
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved
Oliver Ressler, Drillbit, 2021. Digital print on dibond behind museums glass, framed, 97.4 x 137.4 cm.