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Art and Environment

Ackroyd&Harvey, Guillaume Barth: exploring sustainability of nature and art

GREEN ART: Na Project artists Barth and Ackroyd with staff at Na HQ in Mulhouse
GREEN ART: Na Project artists Barth and Ackroyd with staff at Na HQ in Mulhouse RFI/Nicolas Doreau

British artists Heather Ackroyd of Ackroyd and Harvey and Guillaume Barth from France are artists combine art and sustainability in nature.

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Ackroyd and Harvey use a lot of green in their installations or art statements about nature and society. They make grass wall paper, coats and grow oak trees from acorns which are the fruit of trees planted by Joseph Beuys in Documenta 7.

Ackroyd is a member of the climate-change action protest movement, Extinction Rebellion.

Sustainable art and humans

Barth is from the east of France and his conceptual work is an exploration of nature and the environment springing out of questions one expert described as “metaphysical”.

Sponsored by the Na (Nature Addict) Project, a private art foundation based in Mulhouse since 2012, in the east of France, Ackroyd & Harvey and Barth were commissioned to create environmentally sustainable works in early September 2019.

At the Na Project HQ, the firm decided to raise awareness at home, among their staff and visitors by having Ackroyd and Harvey plant one of their child-of-Beuys’, child of Documenta, oak trees on the lawn.

Barth’s ‘Saffron Field’, does the same thing, but his hundreds of croci will only remain in their bed next to Ackroyd and Harvey’s oak tree for four years.

The bulbs were planted in early September, and the delicate purple petals and their flavourful dark orangey-yellow pistils, will eventually flower and then fade.

Said Barth who discovered saffron in Iran: “I think it’s the colour of the flower that fascinates me and how, from the stems you can obtain the colour of the sun.”

The staff have chosen “ambassadors” to care for the tree. The idea is to convey how human involvement, individual or collective can contribute sustainability of nature.

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