This past weekend, the Philadelphia Zoo opened a new art exhibition that celebrates larger-than-life installations made entirely from recycled materials. Second Nature: Junk Rethunk features the work of 12 international artists who have transformed garbage into sculptural installations inspired by endangered animals themselves. Sprinkled throughout the zoo’s grounds, the pieces can be enjoyed by all until October 31 of this year.
Second Nature brings together two hot-button issues on the minds of eco-sensitive creatives; recycling waste, and the issue of the endangered species of the world. Through the repurposing of junk as artists’ materials, their stories of endangered animals takes on a poetic tone in a harmonious message of earth conservation. The sculptural works live within the zoo, creating a dialogue between visitors, animals and the art.
The FLUX Foundation’s Bloom! greets visitors at the zoo entrance. The towering bouquet of flowers and butterflies is made from recycled objects like car parts, kitchen tools, tires, and HVAC duct and artificial turf. The piece lights up with LED lights all day long.
A complete stand-out piece is a nine-foot-tall gorilla by Montreal artist Laurence Vallières, which stands next to the gorilla habitat. Modeled after the zoo’s male gorilla, Mutuba, the giant sculpture is made entirely out of cardboard—a product of the timber industry that threatens gorillas in the wild.
Another gorilla sculpture by Don Kennell sits on one of the zoo’s trails. The massive blue sculpture made from recycled car doors rises 15 feet above visitors. Other large animal sculptures mad by Cracking Art Group populate the trails around the grounds. The colorful rabbits, birds and snails are made from recycled plastic bottles that the group has collected from around the world.
Other pieces include James Corbett’s polar bear cubs made from recycled spark plugs, Diet Wiegman’s recycled junk piles that cast structured shadows, a crocodile made from chewing gum by Maurizio Savini, and Aurora Robson‘s chandelier-like tree root sculpture made from recycled plastic bottles. These, and other sculptures, can be enjoyed through the entire summer with zoo admission.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat. Check out more on our Flickr stream.