What Has To Be Done

Opening time:Jan 15, 2017
Duration: 2017.01.15 -- 2017.03.26
Location: Exhibition Hall of Building 2, Today Art Museum

Exhibition Preface

‘What Has To Be Done’ is an art, environment and cross disciplinary project based on an annual voyage over the last four years with groups of artists, writers, collectors and filmmakers from Europe and China travelling and around the Scottish Western Isles on the sailing ship the Lady of Avenel.
The voyages echo and refer to the radical social art programme of voyages and dialogues created by Joseph Beuys and the Richard Demarco Edinburgh Arts programme in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A central core of these original voyages on the sailing ship the Marques was to draw attention to both the power and fragility of our natural world and our historical link with nature and previous civilisations. The direct engagement method with these worlds was to use the sailing ship as a symbol of discovery and as an immersive self contained entity that promoted intensive and inspirational dialogue between a diverse group of participants and provided stimulus for artistic practice. At the same time Beuys was engaged in a series of dialogues about the relationship between nuclear power and alternative technologies and how we should respect, protect and value nature. Should we fail to do this then nature will take its revenge on us was his clear message. These dialogues were called ‘What Is To Be Done’. 
Looking back to these voyages and events of the early 1980’s it is worth reflecting on what would Beuys be doing today were he still alive as we are witnessing an intensification of climate change that is rapidly heading for catastrophic levels should we fail to excerpt sufficient political and economic pressure to bring about a global change in our behavior and relationship to the planet. The current project that to some extent replicates those voyages on a similar sailing ship goes under the heading of ‘What Has To Be Done’ where ‘Is’ becomes ‘Has’ as an indicator of some urgency to pay attention to what we are doing to those parts of the world rich in Heritage, beauty, and are life enhancing should we destroy them or render them impotent, barren, uninhabitable and unable to support our endless needs of an increasing energy hungry population.
Beuys like many others, recognized the problem back in the 1980’s and to a large extent little has been done to reverse the processes of environmental decay, although there are some inspirational examples that we can learn from and build on. 
This project, the exhibition, publication and dialogues at the Today Art Museum, Beijing lays down the challenge to artists across the world to continue to respond and to create powerful messages and to promote the role of art of and artists as catalysts of change. 


Chris Wainwright


FANG Xin, GONG Hao, HUANG Xingguo, TANG Hui, TIAN Qi, WANG Zimu, XIANG Yang, YU Runde, YU Xiangming, ZHANG Yucong, ZHU Hongtu, ZOU Cao,Anne LYDIAT, Chris WAINWRIGHT, Angus CARLYLE, Jem SOUTHAM, Hilary BAXTER