A Few Degrees More – A little shift with dramatic effects


The Viennese Leopold Museum is tilting 15 selected paintings by Klimt, Schiele and other artists to raise awareness for climate change.

  • A few degrees more will turn the world into an uncomfortable place’ is the message of an unusual partnership between art and science
  • Curated intervention during Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism exhibition raises awareness of climate change in collaboration between Vienna’s iconic museum, CCCA and Wien Nord Serviceplan

Since last week, numerous works of renowned male and female artists are hanging tilted on the walls of the Leopold Museum in the Austrian capital and have caused quite a stir. Now the famous museum reveals: The world-famous landscape paintings were intentionally put at an angle to represent the drastic effects of global warming due to climate change and how nature is thrown off balance by it. Because a permanent increase in temperature by only a few degrees can reduce our quality of life on earth significantly.

Under the ominous campaign motto A Few Degrees More (Will Turn the World into an Uncomfortable Place) the Leopold Museum ­– in partnership with the climate research network CCCA (Climate Change Centre Austria), one of the nation’s leading institutions in the field of climatology and climate effect research – illustrates the sometimes catastrophic consequences that an increase in temperature by only a few degrees Celsius can have for the environment. According to current calculations of scientists and climate experts, such an increase could cause natural landscapes such as those captured more than a hundred years ago by artists such as Gustave Courbet, Tina Blau, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser or Egon Schiele to vanish soon. To raise awareness for this impending climate crisis, these noted paintings in the museum’s collection were tilted by exactly the amount of degrees that prognostics predict temperatures to rise in the depicted landscapes such as the picturesque region of lake Attersee, the Alps or the Atlantic coast if significant counter measures are not taken in time.

Hans-Peter Wipplinger, director of the Leopold Museum, is convinced that a variety of displayed objects in the museum can enlighten visitors about the impact of climate change: “As an educational institution that conveys ideas, the confrontation with the most pressing problems of our society is a central task of the Leopold Museum. The artists of the Avantgarde were seismographers of their times as well and examined the human condition and the state of the world in a visionary way. Art museums are places in which people can experience the world through the filtered lens of an artist’s vision and where they confront themselves with topics, ways of thinking and world views that can at times be inconvenient, challenging or provocative. Museums fulfill per se a sustainable role in society by conserving cultural heritage for future generations and by teaching about it. They regard themselves as spaces of inspiration and reflection about our being and thus have the potential to positively impact our future actions by making societal phenomena more visible. In that sense, we declare ourselves in solidarity with the goals of the climate movement.”

In cooperation with the CCCA, a team of 12 renowned scientists of different faculties – from meteorology to agricultural and social studies – calculated the effects that global warming will have on the painted sceneries in the upcoming decades. The basis for these scenarios were the prognosed amounts of degrees of the rise in temperatures. Additionally, the specially mounted labels next to the paintings encourage visitors to make a change in their own lives as well as to support measures taken on a political or structural level against these concerning developments.

For CCCA board member and climatologist Helga Kromp-Kolb the intervention is a successful effort to render abstract data more accessible and visible as well as to confront people with an inconvenient truth in a totally unconventional way: “For decades scientists have been warning about a man-made global increase in temperatures of over 1.5 degrees Celsius and its enormous consequences for mankind. But this data is hard to understand. We want to show, what a big difference only a few degrees can make. Globally as well in our immediate surroundings – in the Alpine regions, the lake areas or in Vienna, which was voted the most livable city in the world multiple times.”

„It has shown that a simple transfer of knowledge is not causing a satisfactory degree of actions being taken. Collaborations with artists or art institutions can build bridges because they offer more poignant and more provocative forms and possibilities of engagement with audiences.”, adds CCCA’s head of office Claudia Michl.

The Leopold Museum wants to send a signal to society with this curated intervention as part of the ongoing exhibition Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism. Director Hans-Peter Wipplinger emphasizes: “With A Few Degrees More we proactively want to make a contribution in hope that other museums and galleries join this movement by turning their artworks and cultural assets into climate ambassadors themselves – with just a delicate change in their presentation.”

The unconventional idea for the intervention was developed with Austrian creative agency Wien Nord Serviceplan. Its chief creative officer Christian Hellinger explains the campaign’s goal: “Together with the Leopold Museum and our scientific partners – the climatology experts of the CCCA – we want to raise awareness and more climate consciousness without producing a single poster or other printed forms of advertising. The works of Egon Schiele or Tina Blau-Lang not only turn into metaphors of an environment off-balance, together with informative labels they serve as educational warning signs of climate change instead of being mere projection surfaces of protest.”

The intervention A Few Degrees More can be experienced at the Leopold Museum from the 22nd of March until the 26th of June as part of the exhibition Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism. Additionally, every Sunday at 2 pm, the museum offers free special guided tours teaching about climate change based on the 15 paintings of A Few Degrees More as well as 10 free tours for school children.       

For more information about this unconventional partnership of art and climate science visit afewdegreesmore.com, leopoldmuseum.org or ccca.ac.at.  

#afewdegreesmore  #leopoldmuseum



Client: Leopold Museum
Scientific Partner: Climate Change Center Austria
Creative Lead, Concept, Creatives: Wien Nord Serviceplan
Website design by Ja & Armin
Photography: Andreas Jakwerth


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