Visual artist dedicates her work to the planet!
by Valentine Sabouraud
Le Courrier Australien 23 May 2017 –translation by me!
38 millions plastic pieces have invaded Henderson Island in the Pacific Ocean. This piece of paradise is now the symbol of the extreme pollution, which is felt in our oceans as it is choking fauna and destroying their ecosystem. We talk about a 7th continent-in reality it is more like a ‘plastic soup’ made of microplastic. In response to this Carolyn Cardinet an artist passionate about this topic, uses her activist work to recycle the plastic she gleans essentially on the beach close to home.
In her studio are gathered, milk bottles, old lids and straws touch by the time spent in the ocean. Old fans have been turned in cornucopias and dream catchers have shed their feathers to sit against plastic sheeting.
‘I used to walk on the beach and pick up rocks, driftwood and seashells. One day, I found a black object, a second and a third. They were made of plastic!’ Carolyn realises there was something abnormal going on and that a massive progressive invasion was looming. In the artist mind, Art has to make sense and send a message. After many years as a figurative painter and several techniques later, it is the plastic gathered that becomes her medium of choice and therefore turned Carolyn into an activist for ocean protection.
Influenced by the immersive and subversive work ofAnselm Kiefer as well by Rosalie Gascoigne’s poetic installations: she now creates monumental jellyfish, aerial scenes and even haute couture hats which are all an SOS to save our planet.
Collecting, accumulating, repeating; every step is part of her creative process. Her work is continually evolving as she adds element from nature to the plastic she re-cycles: a stick, a palm in florescence, a piece of straw. Always at the avant-garde of her creative process, she is the recipient of an ‘art and science’ artist residency which has made it possible for her to follow scientific research at RMIT on the potential of the ‘plastic eating bacteria’. Step by step she listens to the hypothesis and follows and even views some of the progressive development with the researchers. She will fly to Sydney to install the work that she will have imagined in their associate gallery.
‘Plastic sample have been submerged at several sites in the Yarra river and under the Westgate bridge. To create a comparative research, six time frames have been locked in. I decided to illustrate in my own way the results of each of those steps.’ The installation in situ is still in development however you will be able to navigate the gallery space in the dark, to a soundscape composition made in collaboration with a sound artist.The words added will tell the project story.
Carolyn takes her message to young audiences on a daily basis. With Yarra council, she facilitates ‘Art & Sustainability’ workshops with school children aged 6-18 and even younger. ‘We create awareness in a sensitive presentation and follow with creating an art piece with the plastics collected’. Some have already understood the issue at stake. ‘I met a 5-year-old who knew very well what up-cycling means’. Not bad!
An exhibition of the works created within the City of Port Phillip schools program and Skillfest workshop is planned for June, prior to another artist program where Carolyn will enjoy the peacefulness of an artist in residence in country Victoria.
All that leaves little time for the rest. However, Carolyn manages to view some interesting TV programs. On now, she recommends ‘War on Waste’ on ABC next episode this Tuesday 30 May at 8.30pm on ABC. Other episodes can be viewed on ABC Iview.