Art

Imagining the dystopian future of climate change with artist Vasily Klyukin

In Dante Veritas is the exhibition calling on you to save the planet now.

Our earth is on its knees, but what will it take for us to change our ways? This is the question asked by artist and sculptor Vasily Klyukin in In Dante Veritas  – his latest exhibition bringing to life the terrifying future that might await us if we don’t do something about climate change soon.

Exploring our modern day environmental crisis through the lens of Dante’s Inferno, Klyukin has created his own dystopian universe full of headless horsemen and the worst of our earthly excesses. Best known for his site-specific installations and sculptures, the Russian artist draws upon his background in architecture to for his signature live sculptures, using a technique which involves layering steel pieces to bring a three-dimensional effect to his works.

Featuring 32 sculptural pieces alongside digital art, immersive audio and light-box installations, the exhibition is designed to take the viewer on a foreboding journey through nine circles of hell, and a series of human vices.

“I want to say I am not showing sculptures or a hundred art pieces, I’m showing a place” he says. “It’s a one 900-meters huge art creation.”

A famous defender of the environment, Klyukin has often used his work to promote the fight against pollution, addressing plastic waste in his recent Why Can’t People Fly sculpture which exhibited at Burning Man this year, depicting a man held down by waste-filled balloons.

“I want people to come to a place that doesn’t exist on the Earth yet and to look deeper and see their own reflections in each of the vices” he says. Klyukin’s vision of the environmental collapse that could await us is designed not just to shock – but to also make us take action.

As the viewer journeys through the different apocalyptic spaces, their final destination is a room entitled the ‘Traitor’s Hall’, where they are invited to take the conversation around climate change away from social media and into real life by writing their own messages on the sculptures and walls of the space.

At the centre of it all is the hope that the current movement around environmental pollution, will plant the seeds for our redemption. It’s the activism of the younger generation that inspires Klyukin. “They going to live in the future that we leave for them, and they are the key to changing how we live in the present” he says.

Not one to rest on his laurels, for his next project he’s planning on designing a cartoon for children about animals fighting against pollution, and to return back to basics with a series of oil on canvas paintings inspired by Rodin, Dali, Kandinsky and Rothko.

See more of the In Dante Veritas installation by Vasily Klyukin.

11 November 2019