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Major exhibition dedicated to contemporary landscape opens in Rovereto, Italy
Richard Mosse, Hunches in Bunches, 2011. Courtesy Collezione privata © Richard Mosse, Courtesy dell’artista e Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

ROVERETO.- The Mart, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto presents Perduti nel paesaggio/Lost in Landscape, a major exhibition dedicated to contemporary landscape and its many meanings: space, environment, territory, the place in which one lives and which one leaves. The natural landscape and the urban landscape.

The exhibition, curated by Gerardo Mosquera, tackles the subject through the works of over 60 artists from around the world, many of which never before presented in Italy.

On display will be over 170 photographs, 84 paintings, 10 videos, 4 video-installations, 4 installations, 4 context-specific interventions (Gonzalo Diaz, Takahiro Iwasaki, Glexis Novoa and Cristina Lucas), 1 web-specific project (Simon Faithfull) and 1 artist’s book (Ed Ruscha).

What is described at the Mart is certainly no Eden, and nor a new artistic genre, but instead a passionate and heartfelt look at the world, which necessarily reveals its most dramatic and contradictory corners.

In the catalogue (published by the Mart), Gerardo Mosquera writes that the significance of the term “landscape” simultaneously defines “both the perception of a given place, and its depiction”, making object and subject, environment and inhabitant inseparable. Today, in the conception of landscape of our time, the degree of subjectivity of perception involves the active protagonists of the transformations of a territory: those structures and individuals who intervene upon it and define its very notion, now broadened to include everything surrounding us, from motorways to forests, cities to rural settings.

The exhibition winds together three different levels of reading: 1) an analysis on the human propensity to appropriate the environment and to identify and hold a dialogue with it, until it itself becomes a depiction of the landscape; 2) the assumption that landscape is not as artistic genre but a concrete means of exchange between man and nature; 3) the idea that every landscape is both the perception of a given place and the depiction itself.

Experienced and constructed, contemplated and used, landscape is inseparable from man.

In perceiving, knowing and describing landscape, man is both the object set into reality and an external, narrating subject. This dualism is evidenced, for example, in the photographs of Bae Bien-U, displayed in the exhibition, where the artist photographs a pine wood from within, and in which the landscape described is not just a panorama, a view, a veduta. The dense trees seem almost to surround and loom over the observer-artist, while in reality it is he who offers us his autonomous and intimate vision of the woods. Or a dualism revealing all our contradictions: where nature is still sublime, it is man who mars it with the heavy marks of traumatic change. In the photographs of Richard Mosse, we find a strong contrast between the image of an unreal landscape in fairytale tints and the violent presence of troops that completely transforms the significance of the image. The vivid colours, resulting from the use of a military infrared film, condition the perception of the image of these marvellous places photographed in eastern Congo, an area in which suffering and violence has prevailed.

Our experience, culture and social state, then, never cease to condition the way we perceive and organise landscape. Gabriel Orozco recreates this vision directly in the street and in the suburbs, constructing a small city within the city: refuse and materials found on site help to create an ephemeral, poor depiction of the urban setting.

This problematic point is joined by the theme of the phenomena of transformation and urbanisation of the landscape, which are central aspects in the work of contemporary artists, who are interested more in town than country and presented above all in photographs and videos: Du Zhenjun imagines the urban explosion in apocalyptic terms, Michael Wolf highlights the infinite vastness of the proliferation of building, David Stephenson rediscovers a primitive and crystalline beauty in the metropolis using artificial light, while in the video of Junebum Park, the city corresponds to its illuminated signs and the mass of advertisements become its sole criterion for development.

Finally, in a a historic moment such as the one we are living through, in which there is an increasingly urgent need to safeguard the territory from the risks of an uncontrolled consumption that often aims at destruction, with the Perduti nel paesaggio/Lost in Landscape exhibition, the Mart offers an event that uses some excellent examples of art to open a discussion about the need to rediscover and renew the old equilibrium between man and his environment.

Perduti nel paesaggio/Lost in Ladscape opens with “The microwave sky as seen by planck”, the first complete image of the universe, captured in 2010 with the Planck (©ESA/ LFI & HFI Consortia) satellite telescope. This depiction, delineating the total landscape, consists of the most ambitious appropriation of the environment ever realised. This image of the universe is flanked by the antique Celestial Disk of Nebra (1,600 BC), which is instead the earliest known depiction of the universe. The depiction of an absolute landscape confirms the desire to challenge the infinite and the permanent expansion of the cosmos, containing, describing and possessing it.

Between these two extremes of history, the Mart’s exhibition offers numerous contemporary interpretations from different latitudes, through a multiplicity of languages, techniques and different media. From artworks with a strongly social content, such as the landscapes photographed by Fernando Brito of Mexico to the dreamlike interpretations of Hong Lei, which alternate with the natural scenarios of Analía Amaya. The sites of conflict described by Vandy Rattana, Gabriele Basilico, Kang Yong-Suk and Rula Halawani, which maintain a dialogue with the scenarios of urban transformation of Iosif Kiraly and Guillermo Santos. Surreal images, maps, urban and lunar landscapes join together in an exhibition exploring the dialectic between distance and belonging, and constructs messages, triggers experiences, proposes investigations.

The exhibition starts from the immensity of the universe to arrive at the simplicity of the face of an individual transformed into landscape: an act of appropriation that is perhaps even more extreme than capturing infinite space, in the work of Luis Camnitzer of Uruguay.

Artists represented: Marina Abramović, Tarek Al Ghoussein, Lara Almárcegui, Analía Amaya, Carlo Alberto Andreasi, Massimo Bartolini, Gabriele Basilico, Bae Bien-U, Bleda y Rosa, Fernando Brito, Luis Camnitzer, Pablo Cardoso, Jordi Colomer, Russell Crotty, Gonzalo Dìaz, Simon Faithfull, Fischli & Weiss, Carlos Garaicoa, Emmet Gowin, Carlo Guaita, Andreas Gursky, Rula Halawani, Todd Hido, Huang Yan, Carlos Irijalba, Takahiro Iwasaki, Isaac Julien, Anselm Kiefer, Iosif Kiraly, Hong Lei, Glenda Leòn, Yao Lu, Cristina Lucas, Armando Lulaj, Rubens Mano, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Richard Mosse, Sohei Nishino, Glexis Novoa, Sherman Ong, Gabriel Orozco, Alain Paiement, Junebum Park, Paul Ramìrez Jonas, Vandy Rattana, Szymon Roginski, Ed Ruscha, Guillermo Santos, George Shaw, Gao Shiqiang, David Stephenson, Davide Tranchina, Carlos Uribe, Agnès Varda, Verne Dawson, Michael Wolf, Catherine Yass, Kang Yong-Suk, Du Zhenjun.

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