Artists Silvia Conde and Carla Cascales Alimbau have created an exhibition of large-scale installations complemented by medium format photography, titled ‘Cyclus’, to make an atypical commentary on the hopeful side of humanity’s impact on the environment.
‘Cyclus’ is an interesting exhibition by the Berlin and Barcelona-based artists, because of its unique take on the issue of environmental degradation by human behavior. Fed up with the defeatist imagery we are served from the media about the natural world, ‘Cyclus’ portrays hope rather than dismay: a deliberate move born out of the artists’ frustration with public attitude towards the state of the natural world.
This idea of having confidence in the earth’s ability to restore itself is a concept which seamlessly translates into the striking visuals that make up the exhibition. There is a well-defined representation of form and landscape in both Alimbau’s sculptures and Conde’s photographs respectively; an effort that does well to usurp the conversation around such a contentious topic. It’s an important notion for the creative duo, whom we sat down with recently to discuss their exhibition, and the significance of their project.
How do the two forms of art on display in ‘Cyclus’ weave together to explain the notion that “A change on earth is possible”?
The aim of this exhibition is to increase public awareness of the consequences of damaging the environment. This is a personal interest we both have and we felt we had to do something about it in our own way. The images were taken in an area [Paratge de Tudela, Spain] that was damaged by touristic exploitation in the ’60s but restored in the past few years. At present, it seems to be as if no human feet had ever stepped on it. However, mass tourism harmed it for decades. With this example, we want to manifest that a change is possible and there is hope for the earth. Because after all, it’s a marvelous place that needs to be respected and protected.
Can you tell us a bit about the meaning behind the title of the show, and how it represents the work?
“Cyclus” is Latin for “cycles”. The Earth has natural cycles, which need to be respected. It was not until recently that our impact on the planet has begun to disrupt them. Carla was very inspired by this concept and decided to create an installation with circles made of Sapeli-wood to represent the cycles. If they are respected, the planet will be protected by itself—as it has been for thousands of years.
This idea to champion the earth’s natural ability to heal itself—how did this come about? Is it much to do with global warming or rather personal experience?
Global warming, exactly. We are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change. We need to do something before it’s too late. We have heard this sentence so many times and there is still so much to be done. It’s heartbreaking.
What can we do as humans to disrupt the patterns of damage we have created?
There is so much you can do every day with little actions. Start small, in your own life. It might sound insufficient, but if everyone adopted more conscious habits, there would already be an enormous impact. Veganism and the Zero Waste movement are great examples. Maybe you don’t need to be wholly strict, just keep them in mind. Reduce your intake of meat. Reduce the plastic waste you produce. Regardless of what some might say, we humans are the only ones who have the power to change the world.
All images © Silvia Conde