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Janet Laurence – Deep Breathing

October 16, 2015

Artist Janet Laurence - Deep Breathing , Resuscitation for the Reef

Australian artist, Janet Laurence is creating an immersive space representing a resuscitation unit for the Great Barrier Reef as part of the Artists for Climate Change during the COP21 talks in Paris this November.

By Julia Champtaloup from Kulture

Janet Laurence is one of 30 artists from 23 countries selected to exhibit her work in Paris during the  Climate Change Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP21. Her work will be installed at the Paris Museum of National D’Histoire, one of the many public venues around Paris hosting works of featured artists. Other artists included in the exhibitions inspired by topics relating to climate change include Kadir Attia, Olafur Eliasson, Pedro Reyes and Song Dong.


Laurence’s imaginative healing space will highlight the plight of the reef and its major threats, such as the crown of thorns starfish and coral bleaching, but also offer the possibilities for healing and creative action. Although the Great Barrier Reef is recognised as one of the world’s natural treasures and great marine resources, the reef was recently denied a World Heritage status listing by the United Nations.


Laurence’s art practice typically explores man’s relationship with the natural environment, especially our role in species extinction, environmental damage and climate change. Often her all-encompassing environments take the audience on a journey, navigating the delicate and vulnerable relationships between humans and nature.  Despite an often grim look at the reality of environmental damage, Laurence usually weaves in a positive message of healing and the regenerative powers of the natural environment.


In Paris, Laurence’s installation will represent something between evidence and imagination – transforming scientific research into an accessible message to communicate an understanding of our global inter-connection and vital relationship to the natural world. For Laurence “Art makes visible what is otherwise invisible”.


Using photographs, videos, sculptural objects, natural materials and borrowed specimens, Janet’s work for this exhibition will be a new site-specific, immersive installation drawing upon research in collaboration with scientists from the Great Barrier Reef Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australian Museum, Paris Natural History Museum, Lizard Island Research Station, and WWF.

Laurence believes “This project is a one-off opportunity to situate my work within a very important, political, innovative international context, in the company of highly respected international artists, and an audience of political and scientific influencers.”


A video about the reef that Laurence shot while on a recent residency on Lizard Island, Australia will also be projected at the Tropical Aquarium of Palais de la Porte Dorée.

Paris Museum of National D'Histoire

Exhibition Details

Artists 4 Paris Climate 2015 will be shown during the UN climate change conference from November 30 to December 11. See

 All photos by Fabian Jentsch
Portrait of Janet is by Janie Barrett

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