‘Connecting with Nature’ presents a curated selection of works by our diverse international roster of artists, each of whom engages both traditional and non-traditional methods to produce meditative works that inspire a reconnection to our planet.
Working with a broad range of media including sculpture, site-specific installation, architecture, fashion design, film and photography, the artists share an interest in creating works that reflect, evoke or transform elements of the natural world into pure poetic forms in balance with, and inspired by, natural and cultural environments.
Featured artists include DRIFT, which creates delicate kinetic sculptures, immersive installations and performance art pieces that explore the fluctuating relationships between nature, technology and man; David LaChapelle, who is known internationally for his surreal, vibrant and cinematic photographs and fine art, often embracing a profound social message; creative director and curator Neville Wakefield, who conceptualizes multi-platform activations cultivating the intersection of art, design and culture; Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, a pioneer in utilizing 3D printing technology as one of the guiding principles in her sculptural work; landscape designer Lily Kwong, who reconnects people to nature through transformative landscape projects and site-specific botanical art installations; and Marco Brambilla, who creates site-specific video installations and commercial projects characterized by the elaborate and kaleidoscopic re-contextualization of popular and archival imagery.
Amsterdam-based studio DRIFT’s multidisciplinary light sculpture, ‘Fragile Future,’ sits at the intersection of nature and technology, combining both in a tender balance. Three-dimensional bronze electrical circuits are connected to real dandelion seeds that were picked by hand and glued, seed by seed, to LED lights, bolted together to form a power circuit overgrowing walls, floors and ceilings, forming sculptures and chandeliers.
This labor-intensive process, a clear statement against mass production and throwaway culture, is a critical yet utopian vision on the future of our planet, wherein two seemingly opposite evolutions have made a pact to survive.
"DRIFT proposes a vision of the future in their signature aesthetics; a distinct mix between hi-tech and poetic imagery. This series is about conveying emotion while simultaneously referring to the fact that light lies at the basis of all life. The project can be seen as a critical yet utopian vision on the future of our planet, where two seemingly opposite evolutions have made a pact to survive."
When asked to contribute to The Washington Post
Magazine’s spring luxury issue, David LaChapelle proposed a photo essay about the concept of luxury that was not focused on material things. Shot amidst the landscape of the lush Hawaiian islands, where he has lived for a little more than a decade, LaChapelle chose instead to focus on the idea of fresh air and clean water as true luxuries, stemming from what he sees as a loss of balance in our relationship to materialism.
The spectacular photo series is a tribute to life and the transformational power of beauty that is capable of awakening and inspiring people, highlighting the reciprocity of all living things.
“I tried to show the magic of nature with fantasy images to create a sort of storybook, an ideal and spiritual way where the problems of climate change and exploitation of resources don't loom.”
Elevation 1049 is an alpine art festival of site-specific exhibitions created out of the specifics of time and place, curated by Neville Wakefield and Olympia Scarry and produced by the LUMA& Foundation. As the title suggests, most of the works are outside, positioned in and defined by the landscape they inhabit.
The inaugural exhibition, ‘Between Heaven and Hell,’ took place in and above Gstaad, comprising exclusively Swiss artists and using elevation as the measure of difference. The second iteration in the series, ‘Avalanche,’ focused on the power dynamics and the unexpected nature of avalanches as the curatorial points of departure. The third and current edition, ‘Frequencies,’ invokes the idea of time and space as the measure of all landscape.
Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen’s ‘Sensory Seas’ holds a microscope over the indelible nuances between the anthropology of a marine organism, to the role of dendrites and synapses delivering infinite signals throughout our bodies. It enchants the attention of how two processes of torrential messaging exist in an uninterrupted state of flux.
Drawing from geostrophic turbulence patterns, van Herpen’s team created 3D twisted vortex models, then thousands of fine white screen-printed mesh layers were numbered, sliced and lasercut. Each layer was embellished by hand with a grid of minuscule transparent chevrons, creating infinitely flexible forms that can expand and contract around the body, like a sensory sea of ebb and flow.
“I don’t see a distinction between nature and technology. They influence each other and they are obviously intertwined in our lives, even in our bodies nowadays. I think they are pure expressions of the dichotomy of our lives.”
Bringing Orkney, Scotland to life in the heart of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, landscape designer Lily Kwong planned, facilitated and executed an immersive installation titled ‘Highland Park Orkadia’ in collaboration with Forte Mare and Highland Park distillery for the launch of its newest single malt scotch, ‘The Light.’
The experience was not only a celebration of the summer solstice and Highland Park’s home on the Orkney Islands, but also a nod to the distillery’s Nordic ancestry and the Vikings’ immense respect for nature, exploration and creativity. Kwong brought the wild, yet calming, landscape to life in the iconic station’s Vanderbilt Hall with over 2,000 square feet of live moss, native grasses, and 220 pots of purple heather as a nod to the distillery’s 220th anniversary.
Following the three-day installation, ‘Highland Park Orkadia’ was deconstructed and donated to an organization that filled hospital rooms with plant life.
"Inspired by the epic landscapes of Orkney, this piece asks Grand Central's hundreds of thousands of daily commuters to slow down and connect — with plant life, their surroundings, their greater community and themselves."
In partnership with Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Iris van Herpen wrapped the Netherlands’ Naturalis Biodiversity Center in over 1000 meters of delicate concrete friezes that merge fossil forms with the fabric of the fashion designer’s collections.
Each of the orange stone blocks, which house the museum’s nine galleries, is wrapped in a frieze designed by van Herpen that combines couture fashion with rock formations and fossils. The 263 panels that wrap the blocks were molded from concrete and small-grained white marble aggregate to create a delicate feel reminiscent of fabric.
To create the form, van Herpen looked at numerous stone formations and fossils within the museum’s collections and traveled to see others in situ.
Presented in the glass atrium at New York City’s Time Warner Center by Hugo Boss in association with Art Production Fund, artist Marco Brambilla’s ‘Anthropocene’ is a site-specific video installation where the view of Central Park from Columbus Circle is spectacularly reimagined from multiple angles.
The geological term ‘anthropocene’ describes the extent of influence human activities have had on Earth’s ecosystems. Brambilla’s ‘Anthropocene’ consists of two intersecting cinematic chapters that he created after meticulously exploring the park’s design with the Central Park Conservancy’s official historian.
The ethereal, yet scientifically accurate simulation highlights the fissure between nature and technology; the man-made and the pastoral; the subjective and the objective; and the paradox that one of New York City’s largest natural spaces is in fact man-made.
“I'm very obsessed with the energy of New York and the idea of the way people behave in the city versus the way they behave in a natural environment. That inspired me to find a way to visualize Central Park in a different way.”
Please update your browser to access Creative Exchange Agency.
To request a PDF, please enter your email address. Once your PDF has been generated, you will receive an email with a download link.