Vivienne Schadinsky is an artist and art educator best known for her evanescent Japanese ink and natural pigment paintings, capturing edible and non-edible plants and flowers that are scarce or soon distinct, due to climate change.
Observation of nature is the overarching theme in Vivienne’s work : from the study of the small changes within the 72 Japanese micro seasons1, to work developed from her very extensive research on the consequences of climate change — as well as the pollution of air and water. Her work is a reflection on the loss of biodiversity, plants’ ability to cope and thrive in extreme weather, food security 2, future foods, clean air and water. She also investigates the plant’s life cycle through installations and photographic documentations — with a particular focus on its journey into seed production.
Vivienne is especially drawn to, and battles with, the intangible space between abstraction and representation, often reflected in nature itself.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Vivienne spent much time in nature throughout her childhood. Coming from a family that highly cherishes and values the garden and nature as the source of food; foraging and slow food cooking instilled an early appreciation of a seasonal palette, the medicinal properties of plants — and the overall health benefits from spending time in nature.
Before studying interior design she worked as a woodworker, due to her fascination and love for trees and wood. This fascination later expanded into a love for paper, which initially included working with the novelty of cardboard furniture, sold in her own shop for some years. Later, a postgraduate course in Theatre Design brought her to London where she first designed sets and costumes for the Theatre followed by working as a production designer for the Film and Television industry.
Vivienne eventually left the design world to follow her vocation to stimulate thought and emotions with art. Her profession as an artist spans over ten years, a period that has offered her the opportunity to adapt a multi-faceted practice that encompasses environmental art and pushes the boundaries of ecological art. She creates ink and wash paintings, works with traditional etchings and monotypes, smaller scale installations, short films and photographic documentation.
Vivienne’s art projects raise questions. They underline the important role art has in visualising the impact climate change and loss of biodiversity have on our environment. To correctly convey these issues she receives information and advice directly from figures in the scientific community; such as a member of Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank in Wakehurst, the Head of Tree Collections at Kew Gardens, a Natural History Museum Collections’ curator and a professor specialised in international legumes breeding programmes to support future food security. Vivienne’s quest is to evoke an emotional and visceral response that encourages collective thought and conversation, to show her audience plants in unexpected ways to challenge their perception. This quest is in parallel minded to support wellbeing by evoking emotions of serenity and the appreciation of beauty.
Vivienne's work has been shown in solo exhibitions in London, Manningtree and Basel (Switzerland), and she has participated in group exhibitions in London, Norway and Japan. Her artworks are held in private collections throughout the UK, Europe and the US.