In December 2022 the first LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven began operation, producing liquified natural gas that involves cooling it down to -162 °C and compressing it to 450 kg/m³. The environmental damage caused by this technically complex, energy-intensive process stands in direct contrast to the prospects of desperately needed revenues for an infrastructurally weak region.
The fraught relationship between energy production and environmental protection is the focus of an exhibition under the artistic direction of Lena Reisner at the Kunsthalle Bremerhaven. The project thematically ties in other regions, raw materials and resources: theme-based rooms with multimedia works from four continents explore the exploitation of natural gas, coal, crude oil, uranium and lithium, and propose ways to resist the expanding use of fossil fuels. In the section on lithium, a resource predominantly used in battery production, the series “Earthing Discharge” by the Belgian artist Marjolijn Dijkman presents images of lithium from the Democratic Republic of Congo, coal from Belgium and electronic waste, captured using an experimental electrophotographic process. The topic of uranium is explored by the German artist Susanne Kriemann in her series “False chamomile, wild carrot, bitter herbs 1 & 2, pitchblende”. The works highlight the environmental impact of nuclear power as she examines various indicator plants to gauge the potential radioactive contamination of the grounds of the nuclear facility SDAG Wismut.
At the same time, the exhibition offers an alternative vision of the future of energy. For example, the Dutch artist Bram Kuypers draws inspiration from the weather conditions along the North Sea coast for a new work on wind power.
The exhibition is supplemented by a bilingual catalogue and a diverse programme of events including excursions to the LNG terminal, podcasts with international guests and poetry and prose readings.
Artistic director: Lena Johanna Reisner
Artists: Ana Alenso, Ayọ̀ Akínwándé, Andrew Castrucci, Marjolijn Dijkman, Sonja Hornung, Susanne Kriemann, Bram Kuypers, Rachel O’Reilly, Oliver Ressler, Miriam Sentler and others
Exhibition: Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven: 8 Mar. – 28 Apr. 2024