Fernando Laposse, Totomoxtle (2023), dog benches (pups) (2023), Pink Hammock (2019), Film Totomoxtle (2019), 2023, Installation view Frankfurter Kunstverein 2023, Photo: Moritz Bernoully, ©Frankfurter Kunstverein, Courtesy: Fernando Laposse and Friedman Benda
Without biodiversity, human existence on planet Earth would not be possible. However, this biodiversity has been declining for far too long, and at an alarming rate. This realisation unites the curatorial team of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, which has invited the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Frankfurt Zoo to collaborate in the form of an interdisciplinary partnership. The result is the new exhibition titled Bending the Curve – Knowing, Acting, Caring for Biodiversity, which alludes to the concept of ‘Bending the Curve of Biodiversity Loss’. The exhibition explores how the negative trend can be halted – or even reversed. This issue is also the focus of the artistic and scientific perspectives presented in the exhibition, which illustrate paths and ideas for ecosystemic recovery and aim to catalyse a turnaround in the biodiversity crisis.
Franziska Nori (Co-Creation Art) and Katrin Böhning-Gaese (Co-Creation Science) have invited internationally renowned and innovative artists to present current works, some of which were specifically created for the Frankfurter Kunstverein. These works include expansive installations as well as pieces from the realm of computer-generated reality. At the Frankfurter Kunstverein, these artworks intersect with perspectives that illuminate the exhibition theme from a scientific standpoint. This includes Big Data models, virtual reality experiences, a living ant colony, as well as results from innovative material research and citizen science projects.
Both the artistic and scientific exhibits go beyond symbolic references. Instead, Bending the Curve showcases artists, research projects and initiatives whose work focuses on active transformation. What they present in the exhibition is born from the idea of co-creation, representing a shared interdisciplinary creative process that encompasses creatures both human and non-human.
The exhibits and their creation demonstrate where a shift in thinking and action, as well as a new prioritisation of values, may lead to. Built upon the foundation of knowledge, action and care for biodiversity, as formulated in the sub-title, the creators and their works advocate a departure from anthropocentrism towards the concept of transformative ‘naturecultures’, as coined by Donna Haraway. The forward-looking stance of the artists showcased in Frankfurt also stems from their presentation of not just sustainable but regenerative art. Unlike sustainability, which aims to preserve resources and minimise negative impacts, regenerative art focuses on co-existence with ecosystems. This necessitates aligning the coordinates of daily life in a way that creates a liveable social environment while simultaneously contributing to the recovery, renewal, and perhaps even complete health of the environment.
The exhibition at Frankfurter Kunstverein draws inspiration from the project ‘Bending the Curve of Biodiversity Loss’. Behind it is concealed an international network led by Dr. David Leclère, with 60 scientists and 46 institutions as members. Demonstrating that socio-ecological transformation is still possible despite challenging conditions, they call upon civil society, as well as politics and business, to act accordingly.
The Frankfurter Kunstverein sees itself as a cultural forum situated in the midst of society. Through the media of art and visual thinking, artists and experts from various fields engage in a public discourse with civil society actors, inspiring in this way political action.
Following the exhibitions Trees of Life – Stories for a Damaged Planet, 2019, and The Intelligence of Plants, 2021, the Frankfurter Kunstverein with Bending the Curve continues its series of collaborations between contemporary artists and international natural science research institutions.