The exhibition looks to the recent history of art in order to trace some of the entanglements between human beings, technology and nature. The range of works collected in the Rieckhallen extends from post-1960s tendencies such as land art, Arte Povera, and Conceptual Art through to contemporary artistic practices that address environmental and ecological concerns.
Over the course of the past few years, public debate around the ecological crises of our time has broadened and grown more urgent. Phenomena such as climate change, extinction events, the depletion of natural resources and the spread of plastic waste have been acknowledged in different scholarly disciplines as indicators of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. This term describes how the actions of humanity (Greek: anthropos) now have a significant impact on developments in the Earth’s structure and systems. The works on display in Scratching the Surface illustrate how human understandings of the notion and image of landscape(s) and the environment have shifted over the past six decades.