Radical Landscapes: Art, Identity and Activism (Tate)
Tate Publishing, 2022
The first of its kind, this invigorating exhibition book investigates the British landscape as a site of artistic inspiration, action and a heartland for ideas of freedom, mysticism, experimentation and rebellion. Contributions from campaigners, naturalists, environmentalists and social historians explore art in the age of the climate crisis.
Throughout the twentieth-century artists have responded to the landscape in emotional, physical and political ways: from exploring themes of belonging to the land by interrogating the relationship between landscape history and identity, the enclosure or militarisation of land, to artists creating works that harness or dramatise natural earth processes. As the custodian of the national collection of British art, Tate’s climate emergency declaration points to a wider concern and care for the environment that underpins the themes in the Radical Landscapes exhibition.
Structured on three broad thematic sections; ‘Trespass’, ‘Landscape and Identity’, and ‘Climate Breakdown’, it features around 100 works from 1900 to now, and presents a radical and outward-facing image of Britain and its diverse peoples and landscapes to the world. Focussing on activism and how we value, care for, use and draw meaning from the natural landscape, the catalogue showcases an array of viewpoints reflecting the diverse perspectives in modern Britain, examining the artists’ relationship to the landscape, and social history as a stimulus for the imagination as much as action and protest. These conversations are a rare opportunity to reframe Tate’s holdings of landscape art as well as explore how we might commune with nature and collectively work towards a more sustainable and equitable future.