Art and environment: the emergence of an ecological art

The artist is a citizen like any other, of course, he is a bearer of a personal discourse, but he is an integral part of society. The artists have always expressed themselves in favor of the protection of the planet. If this practice conveys a message, and if they are often inspired by current events and by their daily life, then why couldn't they play a determining role on sustainable development? But does the artist have the power to change things, given that culture is so ignored by the great ones of this world? Of course, the emergence of an ecological art is just beginning.

Theoretical aspects

Several concepts are addressed by the artists that can be used to interpret ecological practices and perspectives. These four orientations have been identified: ecological restoration, social restoration, ecological design and environmental design. Ecological art includes many different approaches, including: living and relational aesthetics, educational or didactic works, direct encounter works, eco-poetic approaches, social sculptures, activist projects, restoration projects and artistic representation. Ecological artists must propose solutions, inform the public, rehabilitate the ecosystem, and create works with a focus on the environment.


1969 is a key year for ecological art practices. At the origins of ecological art are photography and landscape painting, sustainable art, land art and environmental art. In his book Arts of the Environment in 1972, Gyorgy Kepes' essay Art and Ecological Consciousnes presents that ecological art is different from environmental art. In 1993, an exhibition and workshop focusing on art and ecosystems was organized by Don Krug, Renee Miller and Barbara Westfall at the Society. In 2009, Jean Daviot grows giant words in grass. And so, the emergence of ecological art continued.

In this case, what is ecological art?

Ecological art practitioners are activists, philosophers, scientists, and artists involved in environmental education, ecological rehabilitation, and restorative management projects. They address aesthetics, ethics, politics, economics and culture in light of their impacts on ecosystems. Ecological art is distinct from environmental art, whose aim is to energize, rehabilitate and preserve resources, the earth's ecology and life forms. The emergence of an ecological art aims to save the planet by focusing on the principles of ecosystems.  

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