Notes on a New Nature

Group Exhibition

04.05.2013–02.06.2013: Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NL

Curator: Nicholas O’Brien
Artists: Pauline Bastard, Jürgen Bergbauer, Brandon Jan Blommaert, Laura Brothers, Marjolijn Dijkman, Constant Dullaart, Jasper Elings, Bea Fremderman, JK Keller, Jan Robert Leegte, Sara Ludy, Mo Marie, Jesse McLean, Sabrina Ratté, Rafaël Rozendaal, Nicolas Sassoon, Tale of Tales, John Transue, Anne de Vries

Arti et Amicitiae will host a month long the exhibition Notes on a New Nature: Place, Myth and Memory, the second curatorial iteration of a research project by Nicholas O’Brien. This expo investigates the ways in which contemporary digital artists are examining the relationship between landscape and technology. For this exhibition, O’Brien posits how these exemplary artists are engaging in an ongoing examination of the tropes and stigmas that revolve around landscape representation as posed by other, more traditional, art forms. Taking the history of cinema, landscape photography, and early modernist painting as a point of departure, these works question how expectations and clichés of landscape representation have become “natural” within visual language and culture.

Cinema, for example, has played a significant role in developing the metaphorical meaning of the American Western landscape. Similarly, early modernist painting has paved the way for abstraction to become a dominant mode for approaching the sublime. This exhibition not only considers how the aesthetic of the digital has contributed to the continuing development of these tropes, but it also – more importantly – shows how the digital can deconstruct these myths.

Although artists in this exhibition approach this challenge from a variety of different perspectives and processes, a common method revolves around investigating the difference between space and place. Space, a geographical, material, and physical embodiment of location does not inherently contain any markings of culture or history. Place, however, is specifically categorized as a location containing memory, history, and a lived-in environment.

Place is what Lucy Lippard argues is the “latitudinal and longitudinal within the map of a person’s life. It is temporal and spatial, [yet] personal and political. A layered location replete with human histories and memories, place has width as well as depth. It is about connections, what surrounds it, what formed it, what happened there, what will happen there.” In this exhibition, artists create place with this in mind. In doing so, they address how the political and personal effect the ways in which they view landscape and shape that space into a place for critical contemplation and personal expression.