January 26, 2022

The San Diego Museum of Art to Open TERRA: Fernando Casasempere

The renowned Chilean artist will create four ceramic installations that explore climate change, sustainability, and our Earth

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Museum of Art is pleased to present TERRA: Fernando Casasempere. The Chilean ceramic sculptor’s first solo exhibition in the United States highlights the urgency of the environmental crisis through installations that utilize the Earth as both subject and medium. Debuting during Art Alive, the Museum’s signature fundraising event, the exhibition—previously presented in Madrid at Casa de América—will be on view from April 29 through September 5, 2022.

Using clay colored by industrial waste produced by copper mining and drilling processes in his native Chile, Casasempere will create four immersive installations that provide a meditative experience inspiring the public to consider their interactions with our planet. The first, Reframing Our Relationship with the Earth features a mound of earth with thousands of individually hand-pressed clay components resembling bone fragments that speak to humans’ impact on the planet. The second, Earth Book/The Sphere of Things to Come presents a series of clay books and a spherical structure representing the earth, together making up a physical archive of what may be lost if no change is taken. The third installation Salares features hanging landscape formations made of clay that pay homage to the salt flats of the Chilean Atacama Desert, as well as enlarged mortar bowls that speak of itinerant diasporas, representing civilizations forced to flee from natural disasters caused by the changing climate. The final section, Reminiscences,presents ceramic constructions representing fragments of archaeological ruins, gesturing to the threat of cultural loss due to humans’ extractive relationship with the Earth.

“Fernando Casasempere’s work serves as a poignant reminder to consider how we interact with and care for our shared Earth,” said Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art. “We are thrilled to be the first institution in the U.S. to host this thought-provoking and impactful exhibition. With sustainability as a pillar for the Museum, we champion artists such as Fernando who use art as a medium to create dialogue and keep conversations about our environment at the forefront.”

TERRA: Fernando Casasempere is curated by Anita Feldman, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Education at The San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibition will include a public program of events, starting with a panel discussion on sustainability with the artist on May 3. The panel will include several environmental artists who will share how their work speaks to issues around land, the environment, climate change and waste, and the differing ways that art can be used to heighten attention to these issues. On May 17 there will be a music program featuring a performance by Art of Elan titled Art of Elan: For the Earth. Opening on June 1, an in-gallery educational space will invite visitors to pause and respond to the exhibition and contribute a pledge to the community response wall. The space will also feature a station with paper tags, earth clay beads, and jute twine where guests can create handmade pieces to take home as a reminder of each pledge. 

For more information on The San Diego Museum of Art or to purchase tickets, visit www.SDMArt.org.

About Fernando Casasempere

Casasempere works with clay, ceramics and industrial matter, redefining the possibilities of these materials for contemporary sculpture. Through a fascination with the imprint left by humans on the earth, Casasempere draws on archaeology, geology, landscape and classical and modern architecture to subvert sculptural archetypes, while speaking to urgent global ecological and social concerns through the lens of his native Chile. Born in Santiago de Chile, Casasempere studied ceramics and sculpture in Barcelona before returning to his homeland, where he began to experiment with the material composition of his ceramics. In 1997, he moved to London, bringing twelve tons of his own clay mixes from Chile, which repurposed materials and off-casts from copper mining processes that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Casasempere has exhibited extensively in the UK, Chile, North America, Japan and Europe and is renowned for monumental installations including the critically acclaimed Out of Sync at Somerset House, London (2012) and Back to the Earth at New Art Centre, Salisbury (2005). Selected solo exhibitions include Casa América, Madrid (2020); Ivorypress Gallery, Madrid (2019); Parafin Gallery, London (2018); Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo (2017); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile (2016); Parafin, London (2015); Somerset House, London (2012); and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago de Chile (2012). Casasempere’s work is featured in collections including Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Harvard Museum, Cambridge; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Contemporary Art Museum, Osaka; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; and International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza.

About The San Diego Museum of Art

Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 20,000 works—dating from 3000 BC to present day—includes Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings including the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian paintings, East Asian art, American art, and Modern and Contemporary paintings and sculptures. The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as an extensive year-round schedule supporting cultural and educational programs for children and adults. It hosts engaging experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. The Museum also offers Virtual SDMA, a variety of online experiences, including the SDMA app, Masterpiece Minute podcast, virtual performances in collaboration with other local arts institutions and more. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.

The San Diego Museum of Art is located at 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, Calif., 92101. General Information: (619) 232-7931, Group Sales: (619) 696-1935, Website: https://www.sdmart.org Twitter: @SDMA Instagram: @SanDiegoMuseumofArt Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSanDiegoMuseumOfArt.