Bleda y Rosa
Jesus Mari Lazcano
María Luisa Martín de Argila
This group show takes a look at the different ways landscape is now interpreted, and how landscape has been recovered in the arts over the postmodern period. Curator Javier Maderuelo sheds light on two basic ideas: the concept of landscape and the way that this concept is 'constructed'. The project seeks to dispaly how some lands have been turned into landscapes by art. The exhibition also looks at the two ways in which artists have participated in this aesthetic operation.
Curators: Javier Maderuelo, María Luisa Martín de Argila
Based on the experience gained over several years devoted to studying the relationships between art, nature and landscape, the CDAN presents The Construction of the Contemporary Landscape. The exhibition will be held in parallel with the third Thinking Landscape course, which this year will focus on landscape and territory.
The Construction of the Contemporary Landscape will take a look at the different ways landscape is now interpreted, and how landscape has been recovered in the arts over the postmodern period. Curator Javier Maderuelo sheds light on two basic ideas: the concept of landscape and the way that this concept is ‘constructed’.
First, in the words of Javier Maderuelo, it must be made clear that the concept of landscape is a construct, an abstract idea we create based on ‘what we see’ when we look at a territory – a land. Landscape is not an object or a set of objects configured by nature or transformed by human action; neither is it nature or even the physical environment that surrounds us or on which we are situated. As a concept, landscape is the link that enables us to interpret the qualities of a territory or place in cultural and aesthetic terms. We are able to make judgments of taste about a territory because artists, through their works, have taught us to look at the territory with ‘aesthetic disinterest’ and find in it qualities not recognised by the pragmatic gaze of a farmer who works the land or a property owner who derives pleasure only from his ownership of it.
The second key point is that landscape – given that it is a cultural and therefore human creation – is something that is constructed. In every historical period and society images of the world and the environment have been created according to people’s beliefs, knowledge and wishes at the time. European Romanticism, for example, gave landscape a privileged cultural status. Landscape took on a psychic and emotional dimension, and landscape painting was viewed as having an epic significance, and regarded as completely independent of any other subject matter.
The Construction of the Contemporary Landscape seeks to show how some ‘lands’ have been turned into landscapes by art. The exhibition also looks at the two ways in which artists have participated in this aesthetic operation: on the one hand by tattooing, carving, occupying and working on the territory, and on the other by generating, through their works, new ways of looking at territories, and therefore new ways of judging and valuing them.
The contemporary landscape has taken shape as the result of two processes that transform land into art. Cultural factors and an aesthetic drive have played an important role, but a second more disturbing phenomenon – the mass communication of landscape – has also had a strong influence. The latter process has brought landscape to many strata of the population. Individuals unconsciously assimilate a certain notion of landscape through works of art (some of which are presented in this exhibition) and above all through vulgarisations of art, by-products of the booming art trade and its indiscriminate use in advertising.
This is why the idea of landscape is currently being banalised and trivialised to such an extent in a process that started in the tourism and entertainment industries and has now even invaded the world of exhibitions and artistic creation. Disparate terms like ‘sustainability’, ‘ecology’ and ‘nature’ are bandied about in conjunction with the word ‘landscape’ in a way that indicates constant confusion and even premeditated perversion. And this trend is particularly clear in some publications and exhibitions.
This confusion and trivialisation has led the curators to use the works included in the exhibition to show how the idea of landscape has been constructed in contemporary art. The aim is to clarify the main directions pursued in landscape art over the last several decades.
Artists in the exhibition
Isamu Noguchi, Robert Smithson, Richard Long, Jan Dibbets, Alberto Carneiro, David Nash, Ulrich Rückriem, Isidro Blasco, Axel Hütte, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bleda y Rosa, Gerard Richter, Jesús Mari Lazcano, Paolo Bürgi and Catherine Mosbach are the artists selected to analyse this working thesis. Within the context of modernity, The Construction of the Contemporary Landscape looks at pioneers in the recovery of landscape, the role of the artwork in the place, and the gaze that constructs the space. The exhibition covers photography, painting and landscape architecture.
The CDAN Art and Nature Collection
This exhibition will help visitors understand and appreciate the creation of the works that comprise the CDAN Art and the Nature collection, made up of works by Richard Long, Ulrich Rückriem, Siah Armajani, Fernando Casás, David Nash and Alberto Carneiro. The centre aims to continue commissioning new pieces to incorporate in routes that enable art travellers to appreciate the landscape qualities of both the sites themselves and the spaces encountered along the way from one work to the next.
In order to increase understanding and appreciation of the works and the relationships they establish with their surroundings, the CDAN organises exhibitions, brings out publications, a center of documentation and specialized investigation has been created and offers university courses. The underlying goal is to more clearly define what landscape is and how it relates to thought, art, territory, history and heritage. The Construction of the Contemporary Landscape will be accompanied by an exceptional exhibition catalogue and complemented by a course entitled Landscape and Territory.
Image: Gerhard Richterd
Centros de Arte y Naturaleza - CDAN
Avenida Doctor Artero s/n - Huesca