Beautifully haunting and with a poignant message, the installation “One: One Planet One future” by Anne De Carbuccia is a must see if you are in New York between September 16 and November 21st 2016, or where ever it will move after that.

Set at the Westbeth Center for the Arts in a vast, cavernous basement, the visitors enter in a surreal post-industrial world, where the anxiety of the setting is only partially appeased by a soothing tune.

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The exhibition revolves around the large photographs of time shrines by De Carbuccia. For over two years the artists has traveled the world placing her time shrines in locations where the environmental crisis is at its peak. These time shrines consist of several objects, some recurring and others variable according to the setting of the shrine. The fixed elements include a skull, a quotation of the “Vanitas” tradition of the 16th and 17th century art where the skull symbolized vanity and the futility of earthly life.

 

Vanitas still life by Jan Fris, 1625

Vanitas still life by Jan Fris, 1625

The second permanent presence is the hourglass, indicating the passing of time in a particular situation of environmental damage, the imminent expiration date for viable solutions. The variable objects are indicative of the particular environmental crisis of the specific location. These choices and the image composition are quite revealing of Anne De Carbuccia’s degree in Anthropology and Art History: not so much the obvious elephants bones in the savannah, but landmines and Aviator Raybans in Laos, or oyster shells and tourists garbage in New York City.

The New York exhibition is partially set along wooden docks on a water pool: a reminder not only of the Sandy storm, which also flooded this particular location, but also of the rising sea levels, which Sandy anticipated.

 

One Plante One Future at Westbeth Gallery NYC

The photographs portray beautiful natural locations. Even animals seem to be aware of their role in this heartrending play, like the mighty tiger that advances from the jungle looking straight into the camera.

No matter how breathtaking the view is, the attention is always brought back to the time shrines and their urgent message: this powerful reality will be soon gone forever because of human actions, and it can be reversed only with human actions.

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In the compelling, harrowing beauty of her pictures, De Carbuccia has managed to synthesize and amplify the message of the contemporary environmental crisis, its urgency, its imminent irreversibility. She has also documented, the advancing man-made disasters that are changing forever some of the most beautiful and unique habitats of our planet.

For more info: One: One Planet One Future

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