Oliver Ressler, The Path is Never the Same, 2022
Oliver Ressler: Hothouse Planet Breakout
Apr 26 – Aug 3, 2024
Blenheim Walk Gallery / Leeds Arts University
Leeds, UK

Blenheim Walk Gallery is pleased to present Hothouse Planet Breakout, an exhibition by Oliver Ressler, curated by Marianna Tsionki. The exhibition delves into the heart of environmental activism and collective resistance against extractive operations and mega-development projects with a series of new and existing films. Through poignant storytelling and powerful visuals, Ressler sheds light on the interconnected struggles for environmental justice across the globe emphasising humanity’s relationship with the environment. His work challenges the status quo and inspires action in the fight for a sustainable future.

The exhibition focuses on the artist’s most recent film Ancestral Future Rising (2023), that chronicles the resilience of communities facing the destructive forces of corporate greed and neocolonial extractivism. Set against the backdrop of Ecuador’s natural landscapes, this work amplifies the voices of those resisting the relentless pursuit of extraction and deforestation. The film bears witness to rural communities’ efforts to protect their ancestral lands and natural resources from the ravages of mining, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable practices and collective action.

The Path is Never the Same (2022), is a journey into the heart of Hambacher Forest, where activists stand tall amidst the looming threat of deforestation due to lignite extraction. Through mesmerizing long shots and intimate interviews, Ressler captures the spirit of resistance as individuals come together to defend this vital ecosystem from corporate interests. The work reveals the power of solidarity and grassroots organizing in the face of environmental degradation.

The third film, titled The Desert Lives (2022) uncovers the story of resilience and resistance in the heart of Vienna. Built around three discussions, between October 2021 and January 2022, the work follows the gripping tale of activists who defy eviction and destruction to protect their community from the encroachment of unsustainable development. Ressler shines a light on the ongoing struggle against climate-destroying infrastructure, reminding us of the enduring spirit of the climate movement. As part of the exhibition, we will also present Ressler’s photographic work and research publications.

Oliver Ressler produces installations, projects in public space, and films on economics, democracy, racism, climate breakdown, forms of resistance and social alternatives. He has completed forty-two films that have been screened in thousands of events of social movements, art institutions and film festivals. Ressler had comprehensive solo exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein; MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; SALT Galata, Istanbul; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville; Museo Espacio, Aguascalientes, Mexico. He has participated in more than 400 group exhibitions, including Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris and the biennials in Taipei, Lyon, Gyumri, Venice, Athens, Quebec, Jeju, Kyiv, Gothenburg, Istanbul and at Documenta 14, Kassel, 2017. In 2002, Ressler won the first prize at the International Media Art Award of the ZKM in Karlsruhe and the Prix Thun for Art and Ethics Award in 2016. From 2019–2023 Ressler has worked on Barricading the Ice Sheets, a research project on the climate justice movement funded by the Austrian Science Fund.

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