Serpentine opens a multi-site exhibition responding to the climate crisis

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Serpentine opens a multi-site exhibition responding to the climate crisis
Karrabing Film Collective, The Family (A Zombie Movie), 2021. Three-screen colour video, sound. 29 minutes. Back to Earth exhibition at Serpentine North (22 June – 18 September). Installation view. © Courtesy Serpentine.

LONDON.- Back to Earth is Serpentine’s long-term, interdisciplinary, artistic programme responding to the urgent climate crisis. The programme features an exhibition staged at Serpentine North from 22 June to 18 September 2022, with further works situated in Serpentine’s restaurant The Magazine and further afield in Kensington Gardens. Back to Earth also features an extensive live programme with activations during the exhibition and for the next two years.

Evoking responses to the climate emergency and spotlighting a multitude of durational perspectives from across the globe, Back to Earth reflects how we can learn from diverse experiences to create change.

Back to Earth exhibition at Serpentine North


• Agnes Denes – flag The Future Is Fragile, Handle with Care

• Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg – Pollinator Pathmaker, a garden artwork created through an algorithm that optimises planting for pollinators

• Brian Eno – a sound installation

• Carolina Caycedo – a new wallpaper of waterways that have been shaped by human intervention

• Cooking Sections –a new CLIMAVORE menu focusing on sustainable ingredients

• Dineo Seshee Bopape and Katy'taya Catitu Tayassu – a series of earth and clay forms

• Formafantasma – a manifesto for exhibition making that minimises carbon emissions

• Giles Round – an installation using mirrored surfaces that maximise natural daylight

• Karrabing Film Collective – a new film commission, premiering in the UK, on the significance of connection to land in Indigenous communities with the goal of creating a new cultural heritage area in Australia

• Sissel Tolaas – a unique smell score that draws on the emotional power of smell

• Superflux and Studio Ghazaal Vojdani – a takeover of the gallery shop to reimagine what a shop will need to look like in the future, asking: what will our alternative models of consumption look like in a changed climate?

• Tabita Rezaire/AMAKABA and Yussef Agbo-Ola/OLANIYI STUDIO – a temple of medicinal plants to explore our relationship to them and their healing powers

Brian Eno has created a new sound and light installation emerging from his research into generative compositions and Agnes Denes presents her flag The Future is Fragile, Handle with Care.

Artist Tabita Rezaire/Amakaba and architect Yussef Agbo-Ola/Olaniyi Studio present an installation exploring our relationship to medicinal plants. They have designed a temple as a multisensory space for audiences to remind themselves of the healing powers of plants. The temple is constructed using materials recycled from Serpentine’s previous exhibitions and adorned with specially woven panels that will be reassembled into a building in Amakaba, Rezaire’s centre for agroecology in French Guiana. This installation is presented in collaboration with Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

A new wallpaper by artist Carolina Caycedo envelops the exhibition space, collaging satellite images of waterways that have been shaped by human intervention across the Americas.

Further highlights include a series of earth and clay forms by Dineo Seshee Bopape. The artist’s movements and breath are translated into sound pieces by animist and shaman Catitu Tayassu in a collaboration that explores methods of reengaging with our bodies, lands and ancestors.

Research-based design studio Formafantasma present a manifesto for exhibition-making that minimises carbon emissions, alongside many other artist’s designed posters. Artist Giles Round’s intervention features mirrored surfaces and forms based on the satellites that survey environmental changes to maximise natural daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting.

A new film commission, The Family and The Zombie by Karrabing Film Collective, is premiering in the UK to explore the significance of connection to land and in Indigenous communities.

A unique smell score by artist and researcher Sissel Tolaas evolves through the space and over the course of the exhibition, drawing on the emotional power of our sense of smell to address the need for change in response to the climate emergency.

Expanding beyond the exhibition space, the gallery shop has been transformed through a collaboration between design and experiential futures company Superflux and designer Ghazaal Vojdani. They present a shop for the future that aims to gather knowledge from a group of advisors, offering visitors a selection of books and products that reflect alternative models of consumption in a changed climate.

During the course of Back to Earth, Cooking Sections present new CLIMAVORE elements of the menu on offer at The Magazine in collaboration with Benugo. The new ingredients Cooking Sections embed in the menu continue to have a focus on regenerative aquaculture and agriculture.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s Pollinator Pathmaker at North Flower Walk in Kensington Gardens and online at is ongoing for the next two years. This uses a data-led algorithmic method of planting to focus on the needs of pollinators in the UK. Along with external partners, a methodology for recording and monitoring pollinator patterns is being developed.

Bettina Korek and Hans Ulrich Obrist said: "Now in its third year, the Back to Earth initiative has been a remarkable testament to what a dynamic platform for interdisciplinary ideas and practices Serpentine is. This exhibition is a chance to share a selection of Back to Earth projects with audiences, under the common banner of a show, to think about the interplay among artists, thinkers, performers and curators, and to consider the importance of building new connections between art and society. There could not be a more universal subject matter than the Earth and the climate crisis we are facing as natural beings. We are galvanised by the calls for change and creative solutions that have come to life through Back to Earth and hope that they inspire more."

Placing sustainability at the core of the exhibition, Back to Earth at Serpentine North continues to use existing structures and reuse the materials from disassembled parts of Radio Ballads, the preceding exhibition, to minimise waste build and reimagine exhibition making. Almost all work has been produced locally and inks and papers involved in printed materials have been selected to prioritise recycled processes.

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