Alberta Pane Gallery (Paris, Venice) is pleased to present Island Ark by Marcos Lutyens, the first solo show ever held in the frame of its Venetian space, which opened in May 2017 as a satellite venue of the namesake Parisian gallery. Island Ark by Marcos Lutyens is a project that seeks to remediate the loss of habitability due to sea level rise, which is happening not just in Venice, but also to entire island nations across the world, such as the Republic of Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu. Island Ark proposes elevated island structures to take the place of atolls and islands as they become partially or completely lost under the waves.

The envisioned structures are decommissioned oilrig platforms, as a ‘swords to ploughshares’ gesture, in which the very structures that have contributed to sea level rise are used to counter those effects. The idea of the Island Ark platform being an Inclusive Utopian Zone (I.U.Z.) extends from the notion that each island state is surrounded by a soon to be lost Exclusive Economic Zone, which is a 200 mile area around the islands that is reserved for fishing, power generation and mineral rights. At the Alberta Pane Gallery, Marcos Lutyens sketches out possibilities of how this I.U.Z. would be configured. He envisions a fresh start in which a nation state community finds a means of relief from its sunken lands and splits its time on the platform between practices of consciousness, reconnection to the senses, creative social interactions and stewardship of the environment, with the goal of creating a harmonious relationship to self, community and surroundings.

Marcos Lutyens explains: “the Norwegian artist Bård Breivik once compared oil rigs to giant cathedrals of medieval times. Perhaps these massive structures could be rehabilitated not just for refuge against cyclones, to aid in desalination and for agricultural cultivation while island nations are sinking, or as place-holder platform-states once the islands have vanished, but more especially as sites to recondition and regenerate what it is to be human in these times.”

The Island Ark exhibition includes video, ceramic works, drawings, an audio induction, inductive portals and a maquette that could be used as a kit to help island nations decide which activities to include in their own platform. While visitors to the gallery are invited to imagine their own utopian scenarios, the platform could just as much be a metaphor of a new approach to living, as an actual physical intervention in the South Pacific. Marcos Lutyens is working with participants at the University of Southern California, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, as well as at the Artropocene: iBiennale in Hawaii and in South Pacific Islands to help ideate what these activities could be.

Marcos Lutyens first started working on the issue of sea level rise at a performance called Antemnesia, meaning ‘anticipated memory’ in 2000 at the Università Iuav di Venezia; Depth Projection at the Maldives Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. In the development of Island Ark, Lutyens has been inspired by the book Tidalectics, edited by Stefanie Hessler.

Marcos Lutyens’s practice centers on the investigation of consciousness to engage at the mental, as well as at the physical level. Investigations have included consciousness research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raeilians, synaesthetes, border migrants and urban designers.

Lutyens has extended these consciousness projects to involve our external surroundings. Works include interactions at worldwide scale to do with pedestrian flows, social media dialogue, air quality levels, animal, plant and mycelial intercommunication. In his explorations of consciousness, Lutyens has collaborated as much with celebrated neuro-scientists V. Ramachandran and Richard Cytowic, as with shamans in the Eastern Sierra Madre, Mexico.

Lutyens has exhibited internationally in numerous museums, galleries and biennials, including the Frye Museum, Seattle (2018); Miró Foundation, Barcelona (2018); Main Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Latvian National Museum of Art (2018); 33rd Bienial de São Paolo (2018); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); The Armory, New York (2017); Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2017); La Monnaie de Paris (2017); Palazzo Grassi, Venice, (2017); 57th and 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2013 & 2017); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2015); MoMA PS1, Queens (2014); National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2014); dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel (2012); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2010); the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2010 & 2014); the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2010); 7th Venice Biennale of Architecture (2000). Current and upcoming exhibitions, performances and installations for 2019 include at the Havana Biennial and as keynote artist for the Guggenheim Museum at CultureSummit Abu Dhabi.