Landscape representations have a long and rich history in art. With the development of the Land Art movement, at the beginning of the 1970s, landscape scenes radically changed paradigm. By becoming a medium, the landscape is no longer used by the artist as a subject in itself, but is physically experienced as part of the artistic practice. Through new contemporary representations of the analog and digital image, young European photographers nowadays raise awareness of the increasingly unbalanced relationship between man and nature in their work. Rethinking Landscape presents five stances of artists taking a new photographic look at landscape representation and offering new aesthetic approaches, varying between fiction, sublimation and distancing.
With Bruno Baltzer & Leonora Bisagno, Franco-Italian artists living in Luxembourg, the artistic research of the photographic act and landscape iconography is coupled with a historical-political confrontation of the image. The works of Inka & Niclas, Scandinavian artists (Finnish and Swedish) living in Stockholm, are closer to a paraphrase of romantic representations of landscape, than a political questioning. They play on the relationship between man and nature in a paradoxical context of sublimation and distancing from reality. For the Swiss artist Douglas Mandry, landscape, rather than being a representation as it is, becomes a reconstruction, a composition in layers, close to an archaeological and artistic approach, using a corpus of colored and reassembled images. The idea of the landscape that emanates from the black & white series Cercle, Square by Daniel Reuter, a Luxembourg artist living in Iceland, is marked by a conceptual process. Like visual reminiscences of certain installations by Land Art artists, these photographs seem to detach themselves from their initial subject, bringing into play a formalist visual language. The photographs series In the Motherland by Russian photographer Danila Tkachenko address the issue of the forced abandonment of rural villages during the collectivization in the communist era, between 1928 and 1937. By burning the symbolic remains that haunt these landscapes deep in the Soviet steppes, the artist creates a kind of nocturnal funeral ritual.
Today, without giving real answers to environmental questions, the artists nevertheless participate in the awakening of an ecological consciousness through singular aesthetic bias.
Paul di Felice, co-curator
Rethinking Landscape – EMOP 2021
Artists : Bruno Baltzer/Leonora Bisagno (Luxbg.), Inka & Niclas (Fin/Suède), Douglas Mandry (Suisse), Daniel Reuter (Luxembourg/Islande), Danila Tkachenko (Russie)
Curators: Paul di Felice (for Café-Crème asbl), Ruud Priem (for MNHA)
Temporary exhibition from 7 May to 17 October 2021 at the MNHA
Musée national d'histoire et d'art Luxembourg