Evaporation by Tania Kovats

Second Lovelock Art Commission unveiled at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on 22nd October 2015 as part of global climate festival ArtCop21

Cape Farewell and The Museum of Science & Industry (MSI) were proud to present the second annual Lovelock Art Commission; which invited a selected artist to take inspiration from the lifelong work of the famous scientist James Lovelock.

For the 2015 commission, internationally acclaimed artist Tania Kovats explored the significance of our relationship with water and the world’s seas and oceans through a brand new installation ‘Evaporation’. The exhibition and related events were situated in the large 1830 Warehouse Gallery space at MSI for 6 months from October 22nd, as part of the 2015 Manchester Science Festival and ArtCOP21.

Taking James Lovelock’s Gaia theory – of the earth as an interconnected super organism – as her starting point, this new sculptural piece explored global bodies of water. Lovelock’s work focused much attention on the significance of the planet's oceans as a barometer of its health, and how better to understand how the planet regulates itself. As global sea temperatures rise and the impact of pollution is becoming increasingly clear, this thinking and works stemming of it are more vital than ever.

Kovats’ installation was comprised of three large-scale (3 x 2m), shallow, metal bowls reflecting the shape of the world’s oceans lifted from the globe. Each bowl contained a solution of salt and blue ink that gradually evaporated in a hydro-cycle, leaving a jewel-like crust of salt crystals in concentric rings. This became an object with its own tides; different each time a viewer sees it.

Additional complementary works to this installation included framed sets of drawings made through an equivalent 'tidal' evaporation process, smaller ceramic works, a digital live tidal map produced by the artist, and a video which showcased her practice and process.

Tania Kovats EVAPORATION HD from Cape Farewell on Vimeo.

Alongside this work was Tania’s more recent commission ‘All the Seas’, which was created for the Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery. Made up of a large four-tiered shelving unit stacked with hundreds of glass bottles each containing water from each of the planet's 200+ seas. This critically acclaimed sculptural installation had been created with the help of a global network of people drawn in by the desire to bring all the waters of the world to one place. At present, 209 seas have been collected and this search continues. Throughout the exhibition water was continually added to the work, as the 36 remaining sea were collected for this striking and thought-provoking piece. Follow the hashtag #TheSeaStories to find out more about new samples that arrived at the exhibition.

‘Evaporation’ was the second in the annual Cape Farewell ‘Lovelock Art Commission’ - inspired by the findings, writings and interventions of the famous scientist James Lovelock, as we continue to commission artists who pioneer the vital dialogue between science, art and the climate challenge.

Associated Events:

  • Alongside the installation there was a world premiere of 'The Wave' on the 25th October (rolling performances at 11am,12am, 2pm and 4pm), a special choral commission created by renowned BBC Proms 'Gaia'  Composer Jonathan Dove. Dove worked with musicians and performers from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), seeking inspiration from the oceans and tides celebrated in Tania’s work. This brand new piece was shared with the public throughout the day in a series of rolling performance from 11am to 4pm in the heart of the exhibition space.
  • Both Tania Kovats and Jonathan Dove were In Conversation from 7-8pm on the 24th October in the exhibition space discussing their collaboration and explaining how sculptural works relate to the seas and oceans, as well as James Lovelock’s Gaia principle. This conversation was led by leading Oceanographer Dr Simon Boxall of Southampton University
  • On the 24th and 25th October there were writing workshops for children with the brilliant Mandy Coe.


If you would like to hear more about the exhibition why not listen to Tania Kovats and Jonathan Dove on Radio 3 - fast forward to 63 mins in http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06j2l27#play