Mission 2013 air scrubber
- Media category
- Materials used
- copper leaf, vehicle exhaust emission, acrylic binder on Arches hot pressed archival paper
- 76.0 x 57.0 cm sheet
- Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2021
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Caroline Rothwell
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Through drawing, sculpture, installation and painting, Caroline Rothwell considers how concepts and beliefs have shaped and transformed our contemporary world. In her practice she interrogates ideas relating to consumption and the legacy of colonisation and explores the effect of human intervention on nature. Rothwell also engages with ideas surrounding geoengineering or climate engineering – the deliberate interventions to counteract climate change by manipulating the earth's climate system.
This work on paper comes from a 2014 series that enlisted carbon emissions as an expressive medium. The composition has been painted with ‘inks’ made of industrial by-products. To produce these inks, Rothwell melted down white bronze on a camping stove and in a separate process scrapes the residue from car exhaust pipes before mixing it with a binding agent. Rothwell has found that different cars produce different colours, depending on the efficiency of the engine and the rustiness of the pipe.
At first glance, the images depicted in this series appear to be scenes and subjects of industrial modernism: smokestacks, cannons, and airships, but on closer inspection we realise the technology depicted is speculative; climate modification technologies rather than mechanisation rooted in the Industrial Age. In this drawing, Rothwell depicts a curiously named machine the ‘Mission 2013 Air Scrubber’ – possibly a reference to air purification devices developed and used by NASA. As with all of Rothwell’s work, this compelling and beautifully rendered imagery forms a conceptually driven body of work that is shaped by meticulous research.