Why is art not nature

Nature art - the centuries-old relationship between Land Art and modernity

Thematically, art and nature have a long history in common. From landscapes on ancient Egyptian tombs to Roman frescoes and works from the Middle Ages. Since the Renaissance in particular, nature exerted a special fascination on artists. Whether painting, sculpture or architecture, nature has become a constant source of ideas. While its content had been worked on over the centuries, it has functioned as a canvas itself since the middle of the twentieth century through the "Land Art" movement.

Art and Nature: Land Art and the Use of Natural Resources

Land Art, also known as "Earth Works", comes from the USA and brings sustainability and art into harmony. It developed in the 1960s and initially embodied a social awakening by being understood as a countermovement in the consumer-oriented art scene. The works of art themselves became a landscape. They were neither transportable, nor were they for sale in the traditional sense. Only natural materials such as wood, earth and sand as well as stones and water were used. This created a harmonious interplay of art and nature, with the geographical space functioning as the basis of the work of art. The art form pioneered today's sustainable art culture and acts as an important sustainability message for our understanding of natural art.

Copyright Diana Scherer

Well-known example of Land Art

In April 1970, Robert Smithson built one of the most famous Land Art works of art called "Spiral Jetty" within three weeks. It is a huge sculpture in the Utah desert, made of 5,000 tons of basalt. This was built in a spiral into the Great Salt Lake. Like the rest of the Land Art produced, Spiral Jetty is also influenced by the landscape, is exposed to wind and weather and is accordingly constantly changing. A prime example of the interplay between nature and art.

However, the relationship between art, nature and sustainability is not limited to physical media, be it sculptures made from natural materials or paintings made from environmentally friendly raw materials. It goes beyond that and also touches design and interdisciplinary fields, as our cross-section of contemporary positions shows.

Nature and art in harmony - sustainable art projects of the modern age

  1. Pannaphan Yodmanee
  2. Chris Maynard
  3. Hiroyuki Nishimura
  4. Diana Scherer

1. Pannaphan Yodmanee

In his sustainable art projects, Pannaphan Yodmanee combines different materials, ranging from found objects to organic elements. The works are reminiscent of traditional Thai art and architecture. Rocks, minerals and wrecks made of concrete are painted over and reconstructed into beautiful abstract forms. These works try to explore topics related to Buddhist philosophy and cosmology. Paired with natural phenomena of time, loss, devastation and death. They force the viewer to think about the flow and fluidity of life.

2. Chris Maynard

Chris Maynard has been fascinated by feathers since he was twelve - the source of inspiration for his nature art. As a member of the “Artists for Conservation”, the artist combines biology and ecology in his works of art, for which he only uses naturally discarded or discarded feathers.

Preservation is at the heart of Maynard's practice. He believes that even if a feather ended her life with a bird, it is still special and should therefore be reused. Through his art he celebrates nature and uses this medium as a universal symbol for flight, transformation, achievement and hope.

3. Hiroyuki Nishimura

The Japanese sculptor Hiroyuki Nishimura uses wood that has been declared unusable or discarded for his Land Art. Blocks of wood that are unsuitable for furniture or architectural purposes are carved into bizarre sculptures through him. All of his works seem bizarre in that he tries to match a surrealist dream. At the same time, they have the power to give every neutral room a “natural-artificial” character.

4. Diana Scherer

The artist Diana Scherer works in the field of tension between design and sustainability as well as nature and art. Her interest lies in the domestication of plant roots into new and familiar forms. She then uses the “patterned” root growth to create objects such as a dress.

“In my work, I explore the relationship between humans and their natural environment and their desire to control nature. I was fascinated by the root system with its hidden, subterranean processes; it is considered by plant neurobiologists to be the brain of the plant ”.

This is how she describes her artistic approach herself. Scherer exhibited at V&A London, among other things. Materials research, testing different plant species such as grasses and grains, and checking the growing environment - this process can take up to a year. But control is limited and any growth opens the door to the unpredictability of biology, such as irregularities and asymmetries.

Land Art or Nature Art - creative designs bring the environment to the fore

Nowadays, more and more creatives are thinking about sustainable art and designs. The environment comes to the fore - in harmony with nature and art, new ways of working with and for them emerge.