"Visions of catastrophe simply make for visually provocative material."

(Citation from the catalogue)

Dürer: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ca. 1500

Deluges, Jugdment Day, Hell - and Really Bad Weather

Nature’s haven for humans has been described by many different artists over time. One thing they have had in common is their preoccupation with the topic of judgment day.

Judgment day rhetoric is prevalent in the climate debate, present in both religious and ideological terms. Thoughts of judgment day and catastrophic speculation have both been present in our culture since the dawn of time, and have also been present in graphic art, where speculation on catastrophe can be used to depict a vengeful nature.

These days the alarm is sounding in the climate debate: the waters are rising, drought is spreading, and is escalating into extremes. This is a well-known, recurrent phenomenon. Especially in years surrounding the remarkable and nearly magically compelling milestones such as the year 1000, 1500, and 2000, many have thought that they were living in the so-called end-times.

Presentation of floods, doomsday, and the flames of hell have always been more attractive and heavenly freedom and order. And the results are more interesting. Fear of nature is fundamental, but the way in which it is transformed into imagery changes with time.

Judgment day is a radical alteration of heaven and earth, where nothing is left as it was before, while the flood is a more minor version of earthly destruction. Here humankind is wiped out, along with fauna and flora, but the actual earth remains the same. The flood, as a vision of a global deluge, is known in many cultures and has often been depicted in art.

This disorder of this world has frightened people, and the dream of a new or different world that is under control has been with us since the dawn of time.

© Chr. Schmidt-Rasmussen: At Long Last Mankind Forund a Way to Conquer Death, 1998

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