The Vienna based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary foundation has initiatied an ambitious research initiative aimed at deepening our understanding and appreciation of the world’s oceans.

Referred to as TBA21, this initiative is the result of the influential foundation’s ongoing commitment to commissioning and disseminating multidisciplinary art projects that defy traditional categorization, including large scale installations, sound compositions, endurance performances, and contemporary architecture. Conceived with the conviction that art has the capacity to be a transformational force, this project explores new modes of production and presentation that are intended to provoke and inspire change.

Now, for the first time, TBA21 has organised the important exhibition, Tidelectics, timed for launch with the first-ever United Nation’s Ocean Conference taking place in June in New York city, and running until the end of the year.

UNSW Art & Design graduate, Newell Harry, is represented among an outstanding international selection of leading contemporary artists addressing some of the most critical issues facing humanity today.

Tidelectics, curated by Stefanie Hessler, presents the works of 13 artists who reflect on the cultural, political, and biological dimensions of the oceans.  The exhibition places particular emphasis on the impact of humanity, including climate change and rising sea levels, while retaining the belief that individual and collective action can address the challenges facing the world.

TBA21 chairwoman Francesca von Habsburg said, “I have committed the work of TBA21 to the most pressing topics of today, not only in a descriptive fashion but by taking the language of art to concrete actions and solution finding. It’s a turning point for the foundation as it increasingly looks at becoming an agent of change. We need to make peace with the oceans.”

Tidalectics presents an oceanic worldview – a different way of engaging with the oceans and the world we inhabit. Unconstrained by land-based modes of thinking and living, the exhibition is reflective of the rhythmic fluidity of water and the incessant swelling and receding of the tides.

Taking its title from a play on words by the celebrated Barbadian poet-historian Kamau Braithwaite, Tidalectics seeks to re-examine the history and future of the world’s oceans through art. The exhibition highlights processes of cultural adaptation and material change, presenting a rich framework for rethinking the history and human behavior as they affect the habitats of the oceans.

Participating artists include; Atif Akin, Darren Almond, Julian Charrière, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Tue Greenfort, Ariel Guzik, Newell Harry, Alexander Lee, Eduardo Navarro, Sissel Tolaas, Janaina Tschäpe & David Gruber, Jana Winderen, and Susanne M. Winterling.

Tidelectics is open from 2 June – 19 November at TBA21 in Vienna.