What’s On: Wetlands Unravelled

A year-long contemporary art programme woven throughout the lakes, ponds and reed beds of one of the capital’s largest wetlands will start this week.

Curated by Unravelled, who commission and produce site-specific projects inspired by history and place, the programme unfolds over three seasons with new sculptural, installation, video and textile works by ten artists exploring the paradoxes of conservation at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes.

Commissions by artists Tania Kovats, Anne Deeming, Jonathan Wright, Gavin Osborn and Alec Stevens launch Wetlands Unravelled on March 28.

All the artists commissioned for Wetlands Unravelled respond to the topography, wildlife, history and politics of the wetland environment, during the twentieth anniversary year of London Wetland Centre.

Following an overnight stay in a wildlife observation hide, and other research at London Wetlands Centre, Tania Kovats will produce Wetlands, a new artwork in the form of a limited edition newspaper.

Illustrated with trickling streams of imagery, text and migratory bird flyways set against the overhead Heathrow flight path, the work draws on the environmental and socio-political concerns of wetland environments everywhere.

Floating in the ponds of the wetlands, Anne Deeming’s sculptures mix the domestic with the industrial in familiar yet unexpected hybrid forms.

Gradually changing in colour and patina in response to the weather, the distinctive objects begin to mimic seasonal transformations in the plumage of migratory birds, and the textures of local plant life.

Gavin Osborn’s series of sound works immersed in the wetland landscape investigate the repurposing of the site from Victorian reservoir to managed space for wetland ‘wild’ things.

The absence of the watery markers of climate change in the wetlands environment led Alec Stevens’ to create a series of sculptural installations protrude from the water at varying heights, alluding to the water level rises predicted to engulf UK and global communities.

Rob Campbell from Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “Wetlands Unravelled is the latest and most ambitious in a series of contemporary art commissions on WWT sites.

“We’re very excited to showcase, through this programme, new work from artists responding to the unique wetland habitat we manage at London Wetland Centre.

We want Wetlands Unravelled to stimulate thinking and discussion around the vital role wetlands play in the environment and the fight against global climate change.

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