Everybody Talks About The Weather

Dieter Roelstraete

DOI: 10.33671/ISS13ROE

I get the news I need from the weather report
—Simon & Garfunkel, The Only Living Boy in New York

The following visual essay is based on an exhibition I curated for the Fondazione Prada in Venice in the spring of 2023 in the broader context of that year’s Architecture Biennale. Staged inside the sumptuous interiors of the Fondazione’s 18th-century Ca’ Corner della Regina, the exhibition was rooted in the observation that, even though the current and ongoing climate crisis may well be the single greatest existential threat humankind has ever had to face in its 100,000-ye ar history, it remains a subject, paradoxically enough, that is oddly absent from the broad sweep of mainstream art world attention; one might even make the claim that the climate crisis has yet to spawn its first great corpus of critically acclaimed masterpieces, whether in the realm of visual art, literature, or cinema. It is evidently the very enormity of this crisis that is one major cause of this misplaced paralysis and sense of powerlessness – an unwillingness, in effect, to “talk about the climate crisis” which led me to suggest that we talk about the weather instead. Resorting to the seemingly mundane quotidian ritual of that most timeless and universal of discursive deeds, Everybody Talks About the Weather charts a modest history of art’s meteorological imagination from the 16th century – the nadir of Europe’s “little ice age” – to a present day that has become unimaginable without the endless reporting of one extreme weather event after another. Indeed, what do we really talk about when we talk about the weather? Can we ever regain the innocence with which the likes of Friedrich and Turner turned their gaze to the clouds, or do even Turner’s cloudscapes already speak of a paradise forever lost to the advent and onslaught of anthropogenic climate change? The answers to these questions (“my friend”) are blowing in the wind of our own making.


Dieter Roelstraete, Chicago, February 2024

Photo: Marco Cappelletti

Frozen Lagoon at Fondamenta Nuove 1708 (c. 1709)
Anonymous artists from the Veneto region

oil on canvas
95 × 129 cm
Venice, Fondazione Querini Stampalia


jpg to01 (2022)
Thomas Ruff

inkjet, DiaSec Face, wooden frame
251 × 186 cm
Ed. 01/04
Courtesy the artist ©Thomas Ruff /VG Bild- Kunst, Bonn 2023 / SIAE 2023


Storm (1969)
Alix Ogé

oil on canvas
48.3 × 63.5 cm
Stokes Haitian Art
Photo: Glenn Stokes



Photo: Marco Cappelletti

Tsunami (2005)
Richard Onyango

acrylic on canvas
160.5 × 365 cm
Geneva, The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection
Courtesy The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection
Photo: Maurice Aeschimann, Geneva


Horizon II (2014)
Antony Gormley

carbon and casein on paper
19.5 × 28 cm
© Antony Gormley, 2023


Time Immemorial – Other Shore (2016)
Yang Yongliang

film in lightbox, handmade wood box
20 × 20 cm (film size)
Courtesy Yang Yongliang Studio


Untitled (Sky) (1975)
Vija Celmins

42 × 52 cm
Los Angeles, Cirrus Gallery & Cirrus Editions LTD
Photo: Cirrus Gallery


Untitled (2018)
Chantal Peñalosa

6 diptychs from the overall artwork, inkjet prints on photographic paper
53 × 64 × 3 cm each
Courtesy Galería Proyectos Monclova & Chantal Peñalosa
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


Photo: Marco Cappelletti

Kinked Rain / Gold (2022)
Pae White

cotton, polyester, Lurex 250 × 390 cm
Courtesy the artist and kaufmann repetto Milan / New York
Photo: Andrea Rossetti


Untitled (indipendenza studio #3) (2012)
Fredrik Værslev

primer, spray paint, corrosion on cotton canvas
220 × 200 cm
Private collection
Photo: Marco Cappelletti

Untitled, 2023
Pieter Vermeersch

oil on marble
32 × 52 × 2 cm
Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna
© Pieter Vermeersch by SIAE 2023


Troubled Air: Tribute to Sunn O))), 2023
Pieter Vermeersch

A specially commissioned site-specfiic installation
Courtesy Galerie Greta Meert (Brussels), Galerie Perrotin (Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai), ProjecteSD (Barcelona), and P420 (Bologna)
Photos: Marco Cappelletti

Above credits for this page and next four pages.



Deep Breath (2019/2022)
Raqs Media Collective

single screen digital video projection, 25’
Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
Deep Breath film still 2019/2022
© Raqs Media Collective, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London


Photo: Marco Cappelletti

The Flood (2023)
Theaster Gates

colour video with sound 16’9’’
video still
Theaster Gates Studio © Theaster Gates Studio


Who Gave Us a Sponge to Erase the Horizon? (2022)
Goshka Macuga

woven tapestry
290 × 460 cm
edition of 5 + 2 AP
Courtesy the artist and Kate MacGarry, London
© Goshka Macuga by SIAE 2023
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


Going with Melting (2016)
Shuvinai Ashoona

coloured pencil and ink on paper
58.5 × 76.1 cm
Toronto, Dorset Fine Arts

Courtesy the artist
Photo: David Hannan


Plastic Horizon (w/distant weather event) (2014)
Dan Peterman

first generation post-consumer reprocessed plastics
40 × 52 × 6 cm
Courtesy the artist
Dan Peterman, Peterman Studio, Chicago, Illinois USA
Photo: Dan Peterman


How Does the World End (For Others)? (2022)
Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann

17 mounted and framed photographs, 37 mounted and framed typewritten pages
c. 1000 × 2500 × 50 cm
© Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann by SIAE 2023
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


In Kashan, Iran, Pari Soltani dyed wool the color of night
and wove the distance from above the weather to the earth

Jason Dodge

Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin


Untitled (2023)
Vivian Suter

mixed media installation
variable dimension
© Vivian Suter
Courtesy the artist and Karma International, Zurich; Gaga, Mexico City; Gladstone Gallery, New York/ Brussels; Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City; and Stampa, Basel
Photo: Marco Cappellitti


Photo: Marco Cappelletti


Interbeing Cloud 10.04 (2010)
Tsutomu Yamamoto

acrylic board, RGB, LED, glass, and MDF
91.2 × 45.7 × 11 cm
Geneva, The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection
Courtesy The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection
Photo: Maurice Aeschimann, Geneva


Moody (2019)
Nina Canell

lightning rod spheres (foreground)
Courtesy the artist and kaufmann repetto Milan / NewYork
© Nina Canell by SIAE 2023
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


A Wet Finger in the Air (2021)
Tiffany Sia

single-channel video 60’ in loop, infinite duration
edition of 3 + 2 AP
video still
Courtesy the artist and FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna


You Don’t Need a Weatherman (Version 3) (2017)
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

archival digital print mounted to panel
Diptych: 84.5 x 110 cm each panel
Courtesy the artist
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


Portrait of a Lady (c. 1640)
Carlo Francesco Nuvolone

oil on canvas
201.5 × 120 cm
Bologna, Collezioni Comunali d’Arte – Musei Civici d’Arte Antica di Bologna
Photo: Marco Cappelletti


Photo: Marco Cappelletti

Sun and Frost (1905–10)
Plinio Nomellini

oil on canvas
125 × 125 cm
Novara, Galleria Giannoni, Musei Civici di Novara
© Centro Documentazione Musei Civici

Artists in order of appearance:

La laguna ghiacciata alle Fondamenta Nuove (The Frozen Lagoon at the Fondamenta Nuove) was painted by anonymous Venetian artists in 1709.

Thomas Ruff (b. 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany) is a German photo-artist who lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Alix Ogé (birth date unknown) was a 20th-century Haitian painter.

Richard Onyango (b. 1960 in Kisii, Kenya) is one of East Africa’s leading painters.

Antony Gormley (b. 1950 in London, UK) is a British sculptor.

Yang Yongliang (b. 1980 in Shanghai, China) is a Shanghai-based artist trained in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.

Vija Celmins (b. 1938 in Riga, Latvia) is an American artist best known for her photo-realistic drawings of natural phenomena.

Chantal Peñalosa Fong (b. 1987 in Tecate, Mexico) lives and works on and across the border between Mexico and the United States of America.

Pae White (b. 1963 in Pasadena, USA) is a Los Angeles-based artist best known for her large-scale tapestries.

Fredrik Vaerslev (b. 1979 in Moss, Norway) is a painter working in the expanded field of abstraction.

Raqs Media Collective was founded in Delhi, India, in 1992 by independent multi-media artists and researchers Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta

Theaster Gates (b. 1973 in Chicago, USA) is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersection of social practice and installation art.

Goshka Macuga (b. 1967 in Warsaw, Poland) is a London-based installation artist widely known for her research-based projects.

Shuvinai Ashoona (b. 1962 in Cape Dorset/Kinngait, Canada) is an Inuk artist who works primarily in drawing.

Dan Peterman (b. 1960 in Minneapolis, USA) is a pioneer of ecologically themed installation art who lives and works in Chicago

Oliver Sann (b. 1968 in Düsseldorf, Germany) and Beate Geissler (b. 1970 in Neuendettelsau, Germany) work collaboratively in a range of photo-based practices.

Pieter Vermeersch (b. 1973 in Kortrijk, Belgium) is a color-field painter currently based in Turin, Italy.

Jason Dodge (b. 1969 in Newton, USA) is a sculptor and installation artist who lives and works on the Danish island of Møn.

Vivian Suter (b. 1944 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a Swiss artist who lives and works in Panajachel, Guatemala.

Tsutomu Yamamoto (b. 1980 in Okayama, Japan) is a Tokyo-based chronicler of natural phenomena at their most evanescent.

Nina Canell (b. 1979 in Växjö, Sweden) is a sculptor and installation artist based in Berlin.

Tiffany Sia (b. 1988 in Hong Kong) is an artist, filmmaker and writer living in New York.

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (b. 1961 in Madrid, Spain) is a Chicago-based artist primarily working in the expanded field of “social sculpture”.

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone (b. 1608 in Milan, Italy; d. 1662 in Milan, Italy) was the leading painter of the baroque in Lombardy.

Plinio Nomellini (b. 1866 in Livorno, Italy; d. 1943 in Florence, Italy) was a painter active in a range of post-impressionist styles.


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