Joel Lardner’s professional output

Save or Delete (Greenpeace)

Painting / illustration – Published 17th Sep 03

Greenpeace initiated the ‘Save or Delete’ campaign in 2002 to promote awareness of deforestation. This exhibition aimed to focus the campaign and specifically to communicate the beauty of, and the impanding crisis in, the rainforests of Indonesia.

Apart from Lardner’s work, the curator Sarbjit Girn (Artbelowzero) selected the work of illustrators Airside, Jody Barton, Dave Foldvari, Pete Fowler, Kate Gibb, Jasper Goodall, Michael Gillette, Geoff McFetridge, Reggie Pedro.Uniquely, illustrators commissioned on a regular basis by the London style press and involved in the visual language of youth culture were able to apply their own contemporary research/practice to a highly-charged (in ecological terms) campaign.

Research imperatives: Lardner’s starting-point for this research was to explore the political and economic issues fuelling debates about deforestation and to consider how these could be represented visually. Thus, Lardner deliberately employs allegory and metaphor in the representation of a secret meeting in a wooden boardroom between sinister figures privately plotting the destruction of the forest. By Ironising the environment of the boardroom, the image explores issues associated with the subversion of structures associated with capitalist economic institutions and the dominant masculine hegemony. The annexation of nature is implied by the inclusion of familiar domestic plants within the composition. Seemingly eclectic and random emblems of the past (details of 1950s interior design; Wenceslaus Hollar’s (1607-77) image of pre-industrial London; medieval war instruments) are used to challenge the supposed and cliched antithesis between civilisation and the jungle. Subsequently requested by Mark Wigan for inclusion in ‘Thinking visually’ (2006) as exemplar of best practice (in terms of technique) in the discipline.