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CLAUDIA COMTE: FORESTS, OCEANS AND ECOLOGICAL CONSERVATION

Claudia Comte, I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees, 2019. Photo by Roman März, Courtesy of the artist and Copenhagen Contemporary.

Claudia Comte, After Nature, 2021

Claudia Comte Talk at the 2021 Verbier Art Summit

“When we understand how much carbon footprint is produced and how, we can then understand how to reduce it.”

 

Swiss artist Claudia Comte was one of the speakers at the 2021 Summit, where she explained how her artistic practice and personal life is related to ecological conservation. Born in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains, with a countryside atelier outside Basel, Claudia is known for her use of natural materials in her mixed media installations. In particular, her work focuses on the creative role of forests and Switzerland’s natural environments and is defined by her interest on the memory of materials. Her distinctive wooden sculptures carved with a chainsaw have become her artistic trademark.

Ecological awareness is at center of her work: she avoids the use of paints with harmful toxins, plants a tree for every wood sculpture created and mostly works locally to avoid the problem of transporting her artworks. More recently, she has developed an interest in ocean and marine life, which has become a recurring subject in her work. In March 2018, she participated in an oceanic expedition to New Zealand organised by TBA21–Academy, led by the curator Chus Martinez. The result was the installation Underwater Cacti at Alligator Head Foundation in Jamaica, which is a series of cast-concrete underwater sculptures intended to help with the preservation of coral reefs. Over the coming years, marine biologists will plant coral on the cement forms, which will ultimately help to strengthen the biodiversity in the area.

Her latest exhibition After Nature, on view at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain until 22 August 2021, presents a series of coral sculptures made of wood from endemic species which she found during her residency offered by TBA21-Academy and Alligator Head Foundation in Jamaica.

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