CODE RED - Peter Kennard
30th October - 23rd December 2021
Gallery 103 (Trongate 103)
CODE RED is a print installation by artist Peter Kennard for Street Level Photoworks, presented at Gallery 103 to coincide with the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
We’re living in a time of absolute emergency. We’re tottering through the rubble of the rampant free market. It’s a time in which images can open up a critical space that can jolt assumptions and break through denial. The poet Shelley wrote that ‘we must imagine what we know’. By picturing the result of extracting wealth out of the ground by every means possible I’m trying to picture what we know will happen if we don’t stop this plunder. – Peter Kennard
In August this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their report. Their findings, prepared by 234 scientists from 66 countries, warn that human activity has warmed the climate to a point that is unparalleled by anything in the last 2,000 years and that by 2019 atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher than at anytime in at least two million years. The United Nations Secretary – General Antonio Guterres said the IPCC report was the ‘code red for humanity, the alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable’.
Through the use of photomontage the artist turns his outrage into images. Throughout Code Red Kennard re-appropriates the beautiful photo of the whole earth taken by the Apollo astronauts in 1972, which Kennard cuts and tears, combining it with images of industrial chimneys, oil refineries exploding, polluted dust, gas masks, parched earth and floods. His image of the earth surrounded by a clock symbolises climate/nuclear destruction, whilst in another image planet earth is transformed into a seed sprouting a tree. Kennard’s work makes visible the increasing destruction of the natural world, revealing the destruction not as inevitable but the direct result of human activity. The resulting montages can then be used a visual arm of the struggle for climate justice.
Peter Kennard is one of Britain’s foremost political artists and has spent over fifty years creating uncompromising and hard-hitting protest art. He is Professor of Political Art at the Royal College of Art and he is the author of Images for End of Century: Photomontage Equations (Pluto, 1999). Since then, he has published numerous art monographs, and contributed his visuals to publications, magazines and news stories in the press. The exhibition 'Award' by Kennard and Phillipps was exhibited at Street Level in 2004, and he launched his recent monograph 'Visual Dissent' at Street Level in 2019.
All Images © Peter Kennard