Rikke Luther

Rikke Luther’s current work explores the new interrelations created by environmental crisis as they relate to landscape, language, politics, financialisation, law, biology and economy, expressed in drawn images, photography, film, and pedagogical strategies. She has held teaching positions in Denmark and given numerous guest lectures around the world. Her work has been presented in Biennales and Triennales [such as Venice, Singapore, Echigo-Tsumari, Auckland and Göteborg], museums [such as Moderna Museum, Kunsthaus Bregenz, The New Museum, Museo Tamayo, Smart Museum], exhibitions [like Beyond Green: Towards a Sustainable Art, 48C Public.Art.Ecology, Über Lebenskunst and Weather Report: Art & Climate Change] and film festivals [like CPH:DOX* - Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival]. In 2016 Luther created a new work for the 32nd Bienal de SĂŁo Paulo and has been working solo since. Prior to that, Luther worked exclusively in art collectives. She was a co-founder of Learning Site (active 2004 to 2015) and of N55 (active with original members from 1996 through to 2003).
In 2021 Luther defended the PhD Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post-Democracy. It will be published in 2022.

Working on the publication Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post-Democracy with extended texts by Esther Leslie (Sand Crystals) and Jaime Stapleton (The Global Commons)

Film premiere, 2021/22: Concrete: The Great Transformation (1h. 09min.) - in process

Map 9 Architecture and Democracy, Post-Democracy and Anti-Democracy and Map 10 World Mud is in process


2022 - 2024 Post Doc: The Ocean-Lands: Mud Within the Earth System,‘Queen Margrethe’s and VigdĂ­s FinnbogadĂłttirÂŽs Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society’ (ROCS) /

The GLOBE Institute / Danish Natural History Museum / Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

2022-2024 Research project: More Mud for Nordic Alliance of Artists’ Residencies on Climate Action, NAARCA at Baltic Art Center, Sweden; Skaftfell - Center for Visual Art, Iceland, Svalbard, Greenland and Finland.

2022 Research project: Digital Materialities - The New Mud for The Royale Danish Art Academy

June 2022 - January 2023, Tenminste Houdbaar Tot, Museum Arnhem, Holland

2023 Atlantic Ocean, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway [Tone Hansen, Knut LjĂžgodt & Stephanie Hessler]


Public project For the FutureViborg municipality, Denmark [Ceramic tiles, ceramics and a support wall as a part of a new infrastructure project]

VR & AR educational material made for young students and the Spaceframe Complex for Kunsthal Aarhus and Khora

December 2021 The New Mud at Astrid Noacks Atelier - ANA, RĂ„dmandsgade 34, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark - Friday the 17th Esther Leslie's lecture MUD CRYSTAL will be held at (+1) 16:00  

Lise Autogena, Nomeda Urbonas, Gediminas Urbonas

Aesthetic Agency - Please Engage Me!, SMK, Copenhagen, Denmark

16/4, 2021 Phd. defence of Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post-Democracy. Opponents: Esther Leslie (Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck, London University); Kim West (writer and curator) and Solveig Gade (IKK, Copehagen University)

10/4 - 30/5 2021 Nature in Transition - Shifting Identities, Nordic House, ReykjavĂ­k, Iceland [Hulda StefĂĄnsdĂłttir & Hanna StyrmisdĂłttir]
10/9 - 25/10 2020 Spolied Waters Spilled, Manifesta 13 Les ParallĂšles du Sud, Marseille, France [
Clelia Coussonnet & Inga Lāce]. With a pod cast at the Ocean Archive released this Thursday 11th of August 2020: Spoiled Waters Spilled is LIVE https://ocean-archive.org/collection/167


14/6 - 15/9 2019   Corruption: We Lost Control Again, Aarhus Kunsthall, [Jacob Fabricius], Aarhus, Denmark


Concrete Nature: Planetary Sand Bank will be screened at CPH:DOX* - Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 20-31 March 2019

The film is selected for the competition Next:Wave - https://cphdox.dk/program/serier-og-temaer-2019-2/?ser=98













'Concrete Nature' explores the political history of concrete and the social structures it embodies. Rikke Luther’s dialogue weaves a broad range of research material into a narrative of personal exploration. Her film draws out the cultural threads that lay between critical moments of modernity; from concrete’s ‘discovery’ in the first decades of the 19th century, through ideological hopes of Modernists, into our era of sand scarcity, and investor’s hopes for a future, post-apocalyptic, 3D-printed concrete society in space.

The film was shot around in and around the MIT campus, Cambridge, Boston, New York, Hudson River, High Fall, London, and includes historical images. The film explores concrete buildings that were politicized before they were constructed, before an architect lent them their particular voice; buildings whose political speech is now being overwritten, rewritten, and erased, by the shifting stands of ideology and environment.




Details from former work:


The Sand Bank, In Our Present Condition, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology, MA, US - a part of the 50 Year Celebration of ACT, spring 2018


Concrete Nature: Planetary Sand Bank, film, 36,56min. See more 'click' at PhD.



Sand Bank. Three canvas 2.25m.x4m. as part of the sceen for the tap dance show - see more  'click' at History.



Sand marks time. It slips through glass, marking out our hours. But its’ own time is running out.


The great universal architectures of modernity – the transparent windows through which we view concrete offices on the other side of the street, or through which we view the products Silicon Valley – are all built on sand. But sand is in trouble, and with it, much of the concrete and abstract architecture of our time.


In Europe, the concrete bunkers of World War II provided the groundwork for the communal concrete architectures of the era of social welfare and universal rights. As the Cold War grew, sand architecture moved to space, blinking in the circuits of Sputnik. If you listen hard, you can still hear the echoed bleeps and thuds; the rhythms of the 20th century; beat out ambitiously in space.


But the conceptual architectures of Modernity have drifted. Politics soured. Freak capital now seeks refuge in the universal rites of concrete, as sand scarcity eats at the 20th century’s embodiment of progress. History shifted the plan for progress. The symbols of the era of tight democratic oversight have been pirated: in the era of disaggregated Silica, freedom of markets must come at the expense of democracy. Post-war concrete has merged gradually, seamlessly, into post-democratic concrete. Meanings change. The case is altered. Concrete surrendered itself. It is overwritten.





Overspill: Universial Maps, Live Uncertainty - 32nd Sao Paulo Bienal, Brazil, 2016


Overspill: Universial Maps, maps the Global Commons. Details from the installation, graphics for four tiles, 2.25m. x 4m. - see more 'click' at History.



Certainty lives in a state of continual reformation. Human apprehension is as temporal and provisional as the environment that sustains it. The intellectual systems through which humans apprehend and the environment have their own life-cycles. Life divided by the simple binary plant and animal did not survive the 20th century. The borders of nations, seemingly fixed a hundred years ago, similarly proved themselves to be contingent and temporal. Continental shelves creep. Ice melts. Political and economic fortunes fluctuate. Thinking collapses, just when we think we got it.


‘Overspill: A Universal Map’ comprises a number of separate elements. Four large drawings printed on ceramic tiles map the Global Commons; a concept that negotiates the facts of history, political ideology, law and ecology as they are modulated by the limits of legal arguments and enforcement, national self-interests, global corporate power, and the economic and environmental ‘overspill effects’ of pollution on planetary chemistry and climate. This two-dimensional element is contrasted by a wall of in-built vitrines, housing a number of natural artifacts. Here toxic mud form the 2015 environmental disaster in Brazil rubs shoulders with slime molds, recent concrete ‘techno-fossils’, and an important historic fossil of the first bacteria to produce oxygen on the earth. In the foreground lays, a 1:1 scale model of an 8.26 m prehistoric fungi on a concrete bench. Each of these elements is accompanied by explanatory and commentary ‘labels’, written in English and Portuguese.


Created for the 32nd SĂŁo Paulo Biennale ‘Live Uncertainty’, curated by Jochen Volz with Gabi Ngcofo, JĂșlia Reboucas, Lars Bang Larsen

(Materials: Ceramic tiles, original tiles from the building, concrete, toxic mud, concrete, slime mould, plants, fossils (pre-historic oxygen producing bacterial fossil))