Landmarks at BMCC 2017

Landmarks is an exhibition at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre drawn from the John Kaldor Family collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and from the collections of the Art Gallery.

The Kaldor collection has been shaped by a strong minimal and conceptual emphasis including some examples of Neo-DADA such as Christo and Jean-Claude and Fluxus artist Nam Jun Paik. The Art Gallery collection of Contemporary art reveals a similar trajectory through the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This may seem to be at odds with the idea of a landscape exhibition and yet conceptual artists have often thought about how we experience the environment and how that experience can be represented in art.

Landmarks: showing Richard Long and Christo

Landmarks: showing Richard Long and Christo

Fundamental to their approach is an understanding that however delightful the framed landscape can be, it very rarely makes the grade when it comes to capturing all the multisensory experiences and all the powerful associations and affects we derive from being in landscape. In this exhibition artists have adopted various strategies to either capture the effect of ‘being in’ rather than ‘looking at’ the environment. Others have settled for making a critique of the very idea of framing the landscape. Landscape is also written over with human history and it is impossible to avoid the feelings that such embedded events retain to haunt us. This is particularly evident in ex-colonial landscapes where indigenous peoples have been exploited, displaced, disappeared or enslaved. Australia and New Zealand are not alone in such hauntings they exist in much of the Asia pacific region.

In spite of all that it is still possible to celebrate the earth and all that it offers us. Richard Long considers his walks through wilderness as the real art and the objects that come out of his walks are just souvenirs.

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