Participating artists: Mauro Ceolin, Adam Chapman, Joan Fontcuberta, Thorsten Knaub, Scott Snibbe and Carlo Zanni
Curator: Pau Waelder
The landscape is not just the natural environment or its representation. It is in itself a cultural construct, subject to the codes and beliefs of those who have configured it, be it physically (determining its shape by the arrangement of gardens, plantations, roads, bridges and constructions) or as an image (choosing the point of view and the elements that will be included). The representation of landscape, in painting, photography or other media, is thus not just the plain reproduction of the environment. It becomes a selected vision, a whole Weltanschauung summarized in one image.
Landscape painting brought the concept of mimesis to its extreme by pretending to be a real window at which the viewer can stare. But also, as an abstraction of reality, it incorporates several codes of the cultural environment in which it has been created: landscape can also mean social status, ownership or identity of a particular territory. It is also the result of the encounter of culture and natural environment, and thus depending on how the relation between these two elements evolves, the representation of landscape will change. Mankind has been afraid of nature, has then tried to understand it, label it, domesticate it, later on despise it and finally, on the fringe of extinction, recuperate it with a rather unrealistic nostalgia. All of these transformations are reflected in the representations of landscape that have been made during the last centuries.
Today, globalization offers us a repeated landscape all over the world: the horizon of a vast city or a never ending freeway flanked by signs displaying always the same advertisements. Landscape thus acquires a new signification. The so-called “urban landscape” finds its own sense and form; the natural landscape turns into either a fiction or a denunciation; the virtual landscape, finally, appears in the screen of the computer to offer us a new space at which we will stare. In any of its forms, the landscape is necessary to us because it represents our environment, and as it is embedded with our own cultural codes, it gives us an image of our place in the world.
metalandscapes proposes a revision of the concept of landscape from the perspective of digital art. Digital art incorporates the codes and themes of our contemporary society, which is dominated by technological processes and scientific research, and thus can bring a suggestive approach to the model of world view that is the representation of landscape. Due to the processes they generate and the forms they create, the artworks presented in this exhibition are, more than landscapes, metalandscapes. By using the greek prefix that means “beyond”, I designate these pieces as “landscapes after landscape”, which create an abstraction that is both a landscape and an analysis (or critique) of landscape.