The way we adapt to a globalized world, the challenges we face in the future, the universal issues of climate, environment, and resources find its reflection in art. We are able to enjoy the fascinating beauty of modern notions as well as realize how our choices may affect the world we live in – our only home.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan
These days we can observe the great phenomena of the deepening relationship of art and environmental sustainability.
Sustainability has been always a part of our life. We make certain we preserve nature, we want an adjusted development of our economy, and we protect social prosperity in numerous fields. Art is definitely playing the role of a moving force in sustainable development. Its relationship with art can traced back to ancient times. However, today, the bridge between them is more visible and even more necessary than ever.
According to modern art historians, the origins of sustainable art go back to the conceptual art of the late 60s and early 70s. Its emergence is also linked to the global character of nature and societal problems.
The most relevant period of sustainable art falls on the end of the last century. Up to this time, art had interacted with sustainability mostly at the abstract level. However, at the end of the 70s the Land Art movement emerged and spread a crucial idea of sustainability through its very form.
The most known example of Land Art is Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson. This is an astonishing sculpture in the Utah desert, built in the shape of a spiral. Spiral Jetty forms a part of the landscape itself, interweaving with it.
The most famous land artists today are: Andy Goldsworthy, a British sculptor, James Turrell, an American artist, Michael Heizer, specializing in large sculptures and many more.
Land Art became the first sustainable movement. The materials, which artists use to create their masterpieces, are mostly of natural origin: water, stones, wood, and so on. Like nature itself, these artworks are influenced by the weather, which often rectifies the whole work of art as if it were simply another element of nature.
Sustainable art through paintings reflects a lot of recently emerged aspects of life, among which are the protection of nature, urbanization, the consequences of high industrial development, the reuse of waste and other crucial issues.
Nowadays, sustainable art continues to develop steadily, influencing all aspects of our lives: from the social to the environmental ones. Artists now seek to improve their use of natural resources. They focus on the harmony and sustainability of relationships with our biological, political, historical and social environment.