Can art save us? As we find ourselves facing the ever-harsher realities of the climate crisis, this age-old question becomes relevant once again. In this issue, we interrogate the many ways in which animals and the natural world are presented visually—often with either advocate or escapist tendencies—and speak with artists who are suggesting new ways of reconnecting with and caring for the environment.
We also meet the artists who are relating to plants in an intimate and sensual manner. Through their lush, highly tactile work, they explore our current contact with the many different lives we share this planet with, while taking inspiration from the erotic power dynamics of BSDM.
In this issue’s Encounters, we speak to fashion photographer Tim Walker, discuss the pitfalls of utopia with pioneering sculptor Lee Bul and talk clay and consent with performance artist Florence Peake.
Two Paper Galleries continue our exploration of the wild world. We investigate the notions of innocence and the rural in Caroline Tompkins’s heated photography. Cover artist Lydia Blakeley’s paintings are also presented; these bring together pets, sporting animals and Internet memes with both unsettling and amusing results.
In the back section of the magazine, Journal features our regular columnists: Charlotte Jansen questions the environmental argument for having fewer children, while Federico Florian examines the unnatural social and transactional space of the Uber car. Plus, Mary McCartney takes us inside Peter Blake’s studio—and cooks him lunch—and Gavin Turk suggests ten ways of improving our relationship with Planet Earth.All this and more, as we round off a particularly explosive decade.