Oliver Ressler: Barricading the Ice Sheets

Oliver Ressler, More than half the world’s original forests have already disappeared, digital print, 2022. Courtesy of the artist; àngels, Barcelona; The Gallery Apart, Rome.

The Showroom presents Barricading the Ice Sheets, an exhibition by artist Oliver Ressler in the context of his eponymous research focused on climate justice movements.

The exhibition incorporates new and existing works in a contextually calibrated presentation of the wider research that constitutes Barricading the Ice Sheets. For Ressler this research materialises as films, photographic works, a conference and publications which have been unfolding through an iterative, international cycle of exhibitions throughout 2021-23.

Barricading the Ice Sheets at The Showroom investigates climate breakdown, climate justice and activist movements; and the relation of the latter to the arts.

The title refers, as Ressler explains, ‘both to the scale of emergency that the climate justice movement faces and the scope of what it sets out to do. To barricade ice sheets as they melt is physically impossible, yet the movement is attempting something historically unprecedented, because in recorded human history the planet has never confronted such an absolute threat … when Arctic ice melts, sea levels rise everywhere; islands and cities sink; the global exploitation of agriculture and fisheries lurch off schedule.’

A public programme accompanies the exhibition, connecting with key London-based voices including those active in the climate movement; as well as with activist networks contributing to public demonstrations in the city over the duration of the exhibition, and with local constituents in The Showroom neighbourhood.

Join us on Thursday 20 April, 6.30-8.30pm for a panel discussion with Oliver Ressler, artist and activist Noel Douglas, Dr Antigoni Memou, Art Historian and Senior Lecturer at the University of East London; and curator and writer Lena Reisner.

Placards with a selection of digital prints by Oliver Ressler are offered as tools for use during public climate actions over the duration of the exhibition, starting with an organised gathering as part of The Big One on Friday 21 April 2023, meeting at noon at The Showroom. Please email [email protected] for more information.

Barricading the Ice Sheets is a research endeavour by Oliver Ressler, supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF: AR 526) and Camera Austria, Graz, the research institution where the first exhibition of the cycle was presented (4 September – 21 November 2021).

Further configurations of Barricading the Ice Sheets have taken place as solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatia (30 November 2021 – 6 February 2022), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Berlin, Germany (4 June – 31 July 2022), Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia (27 August – 6 November 2022), LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón, Spain, (28 January – 9 September 2023) and finally The Showroom, London, UK (18 April – 24 June 2023).

Barricading the Ice Sheets is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF: AR 526). The exhibition at The Showroom is supported by Phileas: The Austrian Office for Contemporary Art and BMKOES: The Austrian Ministry of the Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport. The Showroom is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.


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