One of the last untouched rainforests in the world, the rainforest of the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia is both a fact and a phantom. The Preak Piphot river and surrounding rainforest are home to many globally endangered species such as Asian elephants, tigers, sun bears, monkeys, hornbills, flying squirrels, and the last remaining Siamese crocodiles. It is considered one of the last true and most important wilderness areas in South East Asia. Currently, most of the world's rainforests are in danger by encroaching corporate endeavors, population growth, pollution, logging, and poaching. The literal and metaphoric diversity preserved therein critically threatened. In Cambodia, this encroachment stemmed largely from the effects of international warfare, impoverishing the country, leading to the radical and murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge, followed by deeper poverty, and financial and infrastructural insecurity.
Quartet For the End of Time is composed of 1700 photographs taken while in the jungles of the Cardamom Mountains. Images continually shift as the viewer moves through a landscape both real and imagined. This landscape evokes varied and sometimes conflicted notions of wilderness ’Äì violence, beauty, disorientation, perpetual shift, transcendence and the sublime. The piece unfolds as a mesmerizing Rorschach test, emphasizing the participant's role, interlacing an interior, embodied space with a moving and uncontrollable landscape.
Access to the wilderness takes a complicated turn in contemporary life. Threats to wilderness remind us that the open-ness, the wildness of public space, is also in danger of becoming extinct. As public parks, squares, and spaces close, or become owned, and corporatized, so too does our ability to rehabilitate ourselves, seek out and exercise creative solutions and community structures.
Deanna Erdmann is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. She received her MFA (2008) from University of California, San Diego, where she was a Russel Grant recipient, and her BA (2002) from UC Irvine. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Luis De Jesus, Patrick Painter, The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LACE, Kavi Gupta Berlin, Sundown Salon, Lui Velasquez, compactspace, The New Children's Museum San Diego, and workspace.