Burning Issues. Land art installation by Martin Hill 2013
The European parliament has declared a climate and ecological emergency. So what urgent actions should governments take?
These are some of the measures that WWF recommends governments can take to legislate to protect the biosphere:
END SUPPORT FOR FOSSIL FUELS
This means phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and using this money to expand renewable sources of energy.
OVERHAUL OF GOVERNMENT FINANCES
Putting climate action at the top of government spending priority list, alongside health, education and security.
STOP POLLUTION FROM OUR HOMES
Legislation that requires all new homes to be zero-carbon and delivering efficiency measures for other homes. This would save money, stop the wasting of energy and reduce emissions.
END PETROL AND DIESEL VEHICLE SALES
Pushing forward our commitment to end sales of diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030 will tackle climate emissions and air pollution.
RESTORE NATURE AND REMOVE CARBON
Restoring nature addresses the natural removal of carbon from our atmosphere. We need to plant trees, restore peatlands, expand wetlands and farm efficiently.
In October over three days of continual storms Philippa and I with our longtime friends Len Gillman, Lea Wilson and David Newstead made the final sculpture No12 on the Fine Line Project on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park.
Huge lenticular clouds driven by the storm rose over the Pinnacles and Mt Ngauruhoe was barely visible until late in the afternoon of the third day, when there was a brief clearing. It was long enough to capture the sculpture in the foreground and the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe where we made the first sculpture on the Fine Line over 20 years ago.
Twelve circles pierce the disc referring to the 12 sculptures connected by the Fine Line around the earth.
With the ecological climate crisis upon us the world now enters its most critical stage in history, humanity’s choice of trajectory will decide its fate. With this in mind we feel the Fine Line Project could not be more relevant.
Huge thanks to all those who have helped us along the way.
We are now working on the book and digital media.
We have just returned from adventures in Europe and China, where we opened two exhibitions of our environmental art.
Andorra Land Art Biennale was the first of its kind and Philippa and I were there to open the international festival with Beyond: the Watershed, a stand alone exhibition of 27 large prints installed in the old historic city of Andorra la Vella. We gave a talk with an audio visual at the official opening which presented the body of work over 20 years and the sustainable design philosophy that underpins it. The presentation included the Fine Line Project preview to a packed auditorium and it was very well received.
We explored Andorra and the surrounding mountain valleys where many works were installed in the grand natural landscape. We were hosted by the organising team led by Pere Moles who put the festival together on a limited budget with volunteer help.
After a few days exploring the mountain villages and Cathar castles of the Pyrenees we headed to Paris where we were hosted by the owners of a famous chateau followed by a meeting with a large global corporation before the long flight to China for the opening of our exhibition there.
Curated by Na Risong at Inter Art Centre and Gallery in the 798 Art Zone Beijing, the exhibition was titled, Temporal Landscapes and installation of the framed prints and the videos was directed very professionally by Ying Cui who also translated the catalogue and wall texts into Chinese.
The opening was enlivened by the arrival of the Kiwi contingent led by John B Turner and Ian McDonald who had arrived back from Pingyao International Photography Festival. We all dined together with Inter Gallery staff and visited the Gao Brothers Studio which was an inspiring experience.
The next day we had a public talk/discussion with Lu Guang the multi award winning documentary photographer who has powerfully exposed the environmental degradation currently happening in China.
With invitations to go back to Paris and China next year we are overwhelmed with work on new proposals and excited by the adventurous possibilities they may bring.
For the second year running Ackermann have published a high quality large format calendar for German speaking countries featuring Martin Hill environmental sculptures.
The calendar is proving so successful that another is being planned for 2015.
You can view and purchase your copies here.
I have just completed and delivered a new permanent sculpture to Art Bay Gallery in Queenstown. It follows the theme I began to explore in “Cyclic Flow” for Sculpture in Central Otago exhibition in 2011. (see below)
This corten steel sculpture entitled “In the Balance” also refers to cyclical systems.
Three corten steel rings sit in space one above the other at different angles. They appear to be unsupported but they are joined to each other at a single point giving the impression that they are frozen in time like a multi exposure photograph of a single spinning coin.
The improbability of its form is intended to unsettle and disturb, raising the question: How can this be?
The idea is based upon nature’s fundamental operating principle of interdependent systems in dynamic balance, where breaking the relationships between the systems collapses the whole.
I have made the work in three sizes, from 2 metres to half a metre in height. These works and “Cyclic Flow” are all available for sale by contacting me.
In the Balance – Video of the sculpture coming to life when nudged
Cyclic Flow, at Rippon Vineyard 2011
It snowed heavily for the last two days when we were up at the Chalet on Albert Burn Saddle. The evening before we were due to be picked up by Charlie Ewing in his helicopter I realised that the new snow was an opportunity to make one last sculpture. Because the fresh snow was very sticky and in the blizzard anything I made was going to freeze overnight I chanced building a large difficult form that would otherwise have collapsed. Philippa also suggested I utilise one of the three sculptures in an earlier work that had frozen into ice and could support my new construction of interlinked circles that would become “Interdependence”.
A few hours of digging and applying the new soft snow and I had the basis of three rings interconnected like chain links. Their final shaping took place as it became darker and colder after sunset.
The storm abated during the night and a full moon traversed the sky towards Mount Aspiring. At dawn the scene was perfect for photography which I completed as the helicopter arrived to whisk us back to the green of the lowlands and our home in Wanaka where we began to return to our regular life after an extremely memorable and inspiring ten days immersed in an alpine wilderness.
Huge thanks to Martyn and Louise Myer, the staff of Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet, Chef James, Guide Laetitia and helicopter pilots James and Charlie.
We look forward to returning when the snow has gone for a different experience making further works for The Watershed Project.
I was pleased to be invited recently to write for a new media company that is creating a multimedia platform for sharing exceptional ideas, insights, and analysis with the global community. Fair Observer aims to enable their audience to make sense of the world by focusing on issues, events and trends of global significance, and integrating a plurality of perspectives: “providing a 360° view of the world”. They intend to be “the improved 21st century version of The Economist – with exceptional analysis sourced from a network of thought leaders in diverse disciplines from across the globe”.
Fair Observer’s Arts and Culture Desk asked for my perspective on Land Art and Environmental Art accompanied examples of my work.
Read my full article and enjoy Fair Observer:
With the success of Martin Hill – Fragile Canvas exhibition in Wanaka the directors of the Arthouse in Christchurch are exhibiting four of the works in Pop Up II which opens Tuesday 18 October and runs till the 23rd.
Philippa and I are pleased with their support for this work and glad that the long suffering residents of earthquake-torn Christchurch will be able to experience it too.
Pop Up II exhibition can be seen here: http://www.thearthouse.co.nz/exhibitions/71/Pop-Up-II.htm
Gallery 33 Wanaka, Martin Hill – Fragile Canvas complete exhibition and essay: http://www.gallery33.co.nz/whats_on.html?id=142
Interwoven World. 2011 750 x 500 Edition 10
A solo exhibition opening at Gallery 33 in our home town of Wanaka was a very special event because many friends and art lovers attended. There was a party atmosphere with plenty of positive feedback about the work.
The film makers were there to capture it all on film and wrap up their story of our year’s sculpture-making in the local environment. For Philippa and I it was a satisfying culmination of a year’s continuous creative activity.
Martin Hill – Fragile Canvas will also be exhibited at the Otago Museum from 16th to 19th November as part of Otago University Science Teller Festival along with the premiere of the film “Fragile Canvas” by James Blake and Joey Bania on 16th November at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin.
With such a positive response we intend to exhibit Martin Hill – Fragile Canvas in other venues so enquiries from galleries are welcome.
Warm thanks to Melissa Reimer and her team at Gallery 33 Wanaka.
Melissa’s essay and the limited edition prints can be viewed here:
I am working on new sculptures both in the landscape and in the studio about ideas concerning intersecting and interconnected systems. This interests me because a strong point at which to influence change is where systems connect.
While camping with Philippa this week on the bank of the Arawhata River estuary on the West Coast, I was struck by the relationship of the rain forest to the constantly changing river as it rises and falls according to the rainfall in the mountains. I believe recognising the effects of the design of human systems on interconnected natural systems is the starting point for actions for change.
Below is the finished sculpture titled “Intersecting Raupo Sticks”. Made with raupo stems tied with strips of flax fiber.