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When art transforms waste


Every year, the world produces four billion tons of municipal and industrial waste. Europe produces almost 25 million tons of plastic waste every year. With a worldwide population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, it seems both inevitable and urgent that we need to manage our waste differently, by recycling and reusing it, in order to step out of the linear model – produce, use, throw away – and into a circular model, where waste becomes a resource. Art is also addressing this problem, as two exhibitions in the spring of 2016 in France and Belgium demonstrate.

Credit: Resource4 by SUEZ

Upcycling goes on show in Belgium

The Resource4 exhibition, organized by SUEZ, features the works of numerous Belgian artists, musicians, designers and stylists, all made from waste. The objective? To use this opportunity for meeting and learning to raise awareness of the need for and the benefits of reuse amongst the general public through some creative, fun and artistic examples. By showing how material that was bound for the waste bin can enjoy a second lease of life, the artists challenge the visitors about over-consumption and illustrate the urgent need to reuse. Clothes, fashion accessories, works of art, furniture, musical instruments… All these creative examples of upcycling or recycl’art can be seen on 19 and 20 March in Anderlecht, Belgium.

Modern art from the dustbin

The Second Life of Materials Road exhibition will take place in Saint-Cloud Park from 15 April to 15 July 2016. The goal of the project, which also involves the economic sector, is to illustrate the issues of sustainable development through the works of modern artists and to alert the general public to environmental concerns. Businesses were approached to sponsor the works. Following the launch of a call for tender labelled “The rebirth of materials”, which stipulated that the artists could only use recycled materials or waste, 50 artists expressed a creative intention to the organizers, who then presented the proposals to the companies. The companies then chose the work they wanted to sponsor.

Two exhibitions that illustrate the possibilities offered by upcycling. The waste is not only reused, but transcended, becoming more beautiful than the original product.

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