The Club of Rome is a non-governmental international association established in April 1968 in Rome. Founded by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian businessman, economist and visionary, it consists of business leaders, former politicians, activists and scientists. They intended to use global forecasts to influence public opinion and establish a meaningful dialogue with politicians. The aim of the Club was to create a real idea of the state of our civilisation and its perspectives, i.e. to model consequences of the development, propose solutions to the crisis, and search for the alternative ways to ensure the survival of humankind in general. The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1972), developed scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It predicted that exponential growth of world population, raw material and energy consumption, and pollution of environment in a limited space of biosphere are not sustainable in a long term and can result in irreversible climatic changes and subsequently in the ecological collapse. The book provoked stormy reactions all around the world and its conclusions are still challenged despite the fact that its authors were in advance of their age and their estimates concerning the future changes were rather accurate. The reports to the Club of Rome published and updated on a regular basis as well as numerous publications have pointed out mostly the fact that it is necessary to regulate economic growth and consumption, as the world faces the depletion of natural resources. Today, however, they shift their attention towards the future of economic, social and political systems, issues concerning worldview, values, education of the youth, new experimental business models, innovations inspired by nature, etc. (Weizsäcker – Wijkman 2018, Come on!). The Club of Rome has national associations in many countries. The organisational structure of the Club of Rome also includes the European Support Centre based in Vienna. The Club has transformed into a prestigious global think tank focused on searching the ways of sustainable future.
The latest exhibition of Rudolf Sikora (1946 Žilina) at the Bratislava City Gallery, titled EKO(KO)MIX, is devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome´s foundation. It has been drawn up as an urgent call to all those who care about the future of our civilisation and our planet. According to the leading scientists from all around the globe, the civilisation faces the acute environmental threat, being not far away from self-destruction. The artist has engaged in the ecological issues since the very beginning of his career at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s; later he connected the issue of ecology with his cosmological reflections. The materials of the Club of Rome helped him to understand the urgency of solving ecological issues. Futurological reflections and ecological warnings, which have appeared in his works on a regular basis, are among the leitmotifs of his body of work. Recently he has discovered the format of so-called (eco)comics. Drawn with passion and often also subconsciously, they are filled with images and texts in the form of “graffiti”, mixed together using a computer and finally completed.
The artist often uses notes and texts to intervene in his previous works, commenting on the current alarming state of our civilisation. Sikora belongs to the artists who voluntarily carry the weight of the world on their shoulders when it comes to ecological and social problems of both individual and humankind in general. He continues in his quest for powerful, although “darkened” and gloomy visual metaphors for the problems. He typically supplements his warning messages with radical calls to the world´s most powerful people. Although Sikora´s artistic gesture is still very vital and filled with energy, the human being – inhabitant of the earth inside him constantly challenges things, thinking about the meaning (the end?) of our journey... He provokes and prompts people to think and act, at least those who can still do it. That´s also one of the reasons why the exhibition has been perceived as a comprehensive conceptual and visual gesture. “The time we have for remedy is incredibly short... I perceive the current ecological situation as a big reminder – an interrogation mark hanging over our civilisation,” says the artist. Rudolf Sikora does not want anyone to stay indifferent.