Pedro Wirz, "Environmental Hangover", 2022, Kunsthalle Basel, photo by Philipp Hänger

“Environmental Hangover”: Pedro Wirz’s largest exhibition to date

(Basel, Switzerland)

Until May 1st, the Kunsthalle Basel presents Environmental Hangover, Pedro Wirz‘s solo show. For this, Wirz’s largest institutional exhibition to date, the Brazilian Swiss artist has created an impressive number of new sculptures and installations, their materiality and motifs drawn equally from organic matter and consumer culture. The clash of the two being the dominant preoccupation in his life trajectory.

As an opener, the works in the first room serve as both an allegory of a profit-driven planet smothered by an ecological crisis and as a warning about the contradictory nature of “progress”. It sets the tone for an exhibition that deploys a complex materiality and elaborate craftwork to evoke a world that desires purity in nature, but also covets technological “advancements;” a world aspiring to eco-responsibility, but also relishing its branded take-out coffee and latest-model digital device.

Before leaving behind a communications job in a toxic landfill to attend art school in Basel, Wirz spent most of his youth in the tropical region of the Paraíba Valley, Brazil. And he often locates his inspirations in the region’s massively changing ecologies, demographics, mythologies, and superstitions. Raised by an agronomist who worked with soil substrates and a biologist who conducted research into the effects of polluted water on the DNA of amphibian life within the region, the artist is fascinated in equal measure by hard science and by folklore. The latter uses fear, awe, and mystery to articulate those aspects of the natural world that cannot be answered to by way of rational knowledge.

What Wirz has constructed from these twinned interests, then, are materially dense unravelings of time and space, each built up from intricate backstories that trace the interconnected trajectories of colonialism, extractive economies, technological advancement, social codification, climate change, species extinction, and the myths that attempt to make sense of them. Wirz puts his finger into these wounds and sculpts from them. The result is a commentary as fantastical as it is sobering regarding the current state of the world.

To read the complete text, click here.

Watch a video below in which the artist talks about the works in the exhibition:

“Environmental Hangover”, solo show by Pedro Wirz
From January 21 to May 1st, 2022

Kunsthalle Basel
Steinenberg 7 CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland
P +41 61 206 99 00
Tue/Wed/Fri 11 am – 6 pm
Thurs 11 am – 8:30 pm
Sat/Sun 11 am – 5 pm

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