A learning partnership inspired by the environmental concerns of artist and activist Gustav Metzger
During a two-week residency in Somerset, four students from the Arts and Place MA course at Dartington Arts School are invited to develop work responding to the theme of ‘Remember Nature,’ a project by artist and activist Gustav Metzger. The partnership launched in 2022 with the first cohort of students, including Raman Feiz, the recipient of the 2022 Gustav Metzger Scholarship, Imogen Mansfield, Emma Yorke and Mary Waltham. We look forward to welcoming new participants taking part in the 2023 residency this autumn.
The ‘Remember Nature’ project was originally instigated by Gustav Metzger on 4 November 2015. Arts practitioners and students around the world were encouraged to participate in a Day of Action addressing global issues such as extinction, climate change and environmental pollution.
Following Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s inaugural exhibition of work by Gustav Metzger in 2021, the gallery launched The Gustav Metzger Foundation Scholarship to support a student on the Arts and Place MA course with refugee status. This collaboration is part of Hauser & Wirth’s ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for equal access to higher education. Moreover, the scholarship establishes meaningful connections that continue Metzger’s legacy and vision.
Gustav Metzger came to the UK in 1939 as a refugee before dedicating his entire creative practice to social activism and challenging our perception of public art as a vehicle for change. During his lifetime, Metzger defined the organization’s mission by envisioning not only exhibitions of his work and furtherance of the political and philosophical ideas he espoused, but also through support for individuals working in the fields of the arts and environmental studies.
Raman Feiz was the 2022 recipient of the Gustav Metzger Scholarship. During the residency, he focused on a performative work that was designed to draw attention to littering and create conversations about this issue within the community. Raman—on a hand painted green bicycle collaged with newspaper and the wheels strung with calls to action—cycled around Bruton gathering litter abandoned in the local area. This culminated in a public performance along Bruton High Street, in which Raman cycled through the town centre with a trail of the rubbish attached to a long rope that followed for several metres behind him.
‘Bicycles allow us to break free from fossil fuels, free from traffic, free from many health concerns of modern society, and limit our harm on nature. The bicycle is a symbol of progress, of renewal, of promising times ahead. By riding my bicycle with all the rubbish attached through the town so that passers-by can see it, I hope to draw attention to the bicycle, the rubbish and the importance of remembering nature.’—Raman Feiz
Raman Feiz’s work was on view alongside fellow students Emma Yorke, Imogen Mansfield and Mary Waltham at Hauser & Wirth Somerset from Saturday 24 September 2022 until Monday 2 January 2023. The presentation featured each individual project relating to the key themes of ‘Remember Nature’.
Emma Yorke’s work looked at communities of care. She worked closely with Bruton Museum who lent artefacts related to the local silk industry.
Imogen Mansfield responded to philosophies of planting and gardening, encircling particular themes within the Oudolf Field.
Mary Waltham, a biologist and artist, made work that focuses on pond life and life in enclosed water masses.
The students also created an interactive media wall within our Implement Shed, where they invited the local community and gallery visitors to stick newspaper cuttings, images and text that related to the climate emergency, environment and nature, to the media wall.
Dartington Arts School is a key faculty of the Dartington Trust, a center for learning, arts, ecology and social justice based on a 1,200-acre estate near Totnes, Devon, UK. The Arts and Place MA course is a transdisciplinary residency-based program focusing on the complexities of the field as a place of practice, exploring its imaginative and material processes.
Gustav Metzger was awarded an Honorary Fellow of Dartington Arts School in 2001 and was part of a rich interdisciplinary community of staff and students working with a passion to be change-agents for a sustainable future. Metzger had a profound insight into our relationship and interdependency with nature. Whilst at Dartington, he spoke extensively about his environmental concerns.
In September 2021, Hauser and Wirth Somerset hosted a Remember Nature Summit with independent artist-curators Jo Joelson and Andrea Gregson. They are bringing together project partners to continue the activation of Remember Nature into the future.
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