A profound exploration of the post-oil era, “Petromelancholia,” is set to open at Rotterdam's BRUTUS Art Space on 2nd September. The exhibition, curated by Alexander Klose, will delve into the profound implications of a life beyond oil, a concept that many have yet to fully grasp.
The exhibition, running until 19th November, will not focus on the doom and gloom often associated with climate change. Instead, it will reflect on the legacy of the oil era and the inevitable new meaning this past will take on. The exhibition will feature existing and new installations, video works, sculptures, and other pieces from artists worldwide, including Monira Al Qadiri, Yuri Ancarani, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Kevin van Braak and Ipeh Nur, Diann Bauer, Tanja Engelberts, Christoph Girardet, Rumiko Hagiwara, Aaditi Joshi, Alain Resnais, Sanaz Sohrabi, and Rachel Youn.
A cultural and mental revolution
“Petromelancholia” (Petromelancholie) acknowledges that the energy transition is more than just a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. It signifies a departure from the petro-modernist era, which will not only mean bidding farewell to oil but also to aspects of the culture that oil made possible. This shift will bring about a cultural and mental revolution that will drastically alter our lives, thoughts, and imaginations.
The exhibition will present diverse perspectives on this complex phenomenon. It will feature 30 contemporary artists from various cultural backgrounds and generations, each offering unique insights into the implications of the energy transition. The artists will explore themes such as the petrochemical corridor in the Mississippi Delta, Shell's Indonesian past, the energy transition's “clash of elements,” industrial aesthetics nostalgia around oil rigs, OPEC's utopian union of non-western oil states at its inception, and the oil industry's portrayal in film.
Location in the harbour
BRUTUS, located in the Rotterdam harbour, is the ideal venue for “Petromelancholia.” Few places will feel the impact of the energy transition more than here, making it the perfect spot for critical self-reflection, tinged with a healthy dose of melancholy and nostalgia.
BRUTUS Art Space is located at Keileweg 10-18, in the transformative creative harbour area. This former harbour complex houses various large and small industrial exhibition spaces, the BRUTUS Lab with a residency and various workspaces, and the free-to-access BRUTUS Garden sculpture garden, among other features.