Magnificent scenery, often dotted with relics of industry, constitutes the American landscape – perhaps even the modern myth of America itself. Taking artist Nikolaj Recke’s Insecurity Zone as its first coordinate, the group exhibition LAND ventures out into open terrain to explore the impact of landscape on our inner and outward life.
Combining sounds and images, the exhibition unfolds around Recke’s 2009 work: a video depicting the artist fumbling blindfolded along a monumental spiral pier originally constructed in 1970 on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in the state of Utah, USA. Known as Spiral Jetty, this structure is an iconic example of land art, a genre created among others by American artist Robert Smithson.
The genre known as land art originates in the USA in the 1960s as artists left the galleries and museums behind to move out into the landscape instead. This migration was a protest against the commercialisation of art, against how the traditional art institutions framed art as commodities. Out in the landscape, artists created vast, insistently physical works that marked the existing terrain, forming interventions in or additions to the landscape. A wish to challenge established traditions and a keenly honed awareness of the spirit of a given place was and is at the heart of land art.
LAND invites landscapes and land art to enter the gallery space of Kunsthal Aarhus. Iconic land art works are presented via video works, audio narratives and a scenography consisting of landscape flags and graphic documentation. In its staging, LAND is a transformational exhibition, just as land art was originally a transformational artistic approach to nature. It is about venturing out into dizzying landscapes where historical events and the passage of time are present as fleeting, yet palpable imprints in nature. With its poetically imaginative narratives and documentary scenarios, LAND explores our outlook on nature, nationality and the landscape as a simultaneously spiritual and tangible framework for lived life.
The exhibition is curated by Peter Ole Pedersen
Video: Nikolaj Recke
Texts and graphics: Peter Ole Pedersen
Textiles: Siri Vilbøl
Music: Christen Brunsgård
Musicians: Palle Hjorth, Henrik Poulsen, Rasmus Skov, Tobias Lange, Klaus Møller and Christen Brunsgård
Narration: Tamra Rosanes
Recording: Rasmus Skov
Mix: Nikolaj Heyman
Master: Emil Thomsen
Layout: Lasse Krog Møller