Artist attempts takeover of BP with sales of 'oil spill art'

oil art

German artist Ruppe Koselleck has managed to buy 2,000 shares in BP so far with the proceeds from his art

German artist Ruppe Koselleck is buying up shares in the oil giant BP by selling artwork made from oil spills around the world, including the Gulf of Mexico spill

Although he does not expect to be able to launch a takeover of BP any time soon, proceeds from sales have so far enabled him to buy 2,000 shares in the company.

Koselleck has been in the UK helping the campaign group Platform with their campaign to stop BP's 20-year relationship with the Tate and end oil sponsorship of the arts.

Platform claim BP is using the art gallery to gain social acceptance and that a high-profile brand like the Tate would have little difficulty finding alternative funding. The gallery refuses to disclose how much the sponsorship deal is worth but estimates suggest around £385,000. Ex-BP chief executive John Browne is also chair of the Tate's board of trustees.

Protestors from another campaign group Liberate Tate made their own protest in April this year when they entered Tate Britain and poured an oil-like liquid over a demonstrator.

Kosselleck says he himself was first motivated to take on BP as an artist more than 10 years ago when he witnessed oil spill on the beach while on holiday in the Netherlands.

'While building sandcastles together with my daughter, I came upon several pieces of a black, slippery, tar-like substance, which upon inspection, turned out to be washed up oil residues. These had the tendency to stick to one's feet, in particular between the toes, under the great heat of the summer sun. It was then that I decided, for ecological reasons, to collect this waste oil in a plastic bag,' he recalls.

His campaigning artwork has focused on BP as, in his own words, they were the 'ultimate greenwashing company'. And in 2010 he visited beaches in Missisippi, Alabama, Lousianna and Florida affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Read more
Platform's report 'Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil'

Add to StumbleUpon
Spilling oil over the Tate: the activists' story
'Is it art?', a bystander asked of the demonstration against a ceremony at the Tate celebrating BP's support for British art. A good question - if it ain't, it's certainly effective
Activism special Tools of resistance: the insiders guide to grassroots direct action
Molly James & Dan Glass outline the most powerful tools in the grassroots action toolbox - plus information on how you can get involved
Europe moves to ban imports of tar sands oil from Canada
An attempt to classify tar sands oil as more environmentally-damaging than conventional oil would effectively ban its sale within European Member States
Platform: attempting to drive a wedge between the Tate Modern and BP
Should oil and gas companies be sponsoring the arts? No, says the man behind the unconventional pressure group that's tackling the 'carbon web of institutions'
Peak oil is 'getting closer' but the world is not ready
The end of cheap oil has got governments panicking to control prices rather than planning for a post-oil era. Tom Levitt reports

More from this author