In our collective thinking, reality is defined by what is offered to be seen - a definition which inevitably generates questions about our assessment of reality. Philosophy and metaphysics teach us that we do not always see reality as it is but rather as a sort of personal mental transposition. Despite the age and universality of this subject, our environment or "landscape" is still a source of investigation since our conscience plays a role in shaping our processes of representation of these environments. In order to develop this reflexion about how we experience "the world" around us, the exhibition will deal with the notion of "sensescapes" - a sensory experience evoking the relation between space and senses, geography and mind. "Sensescapes are not fixed entities but processes during which the pilgrim (the viewer) is simultaneously the creator and the user of the environment. Sensory backgrounds and the features composing them are not static elements but continuously changing situations in which the pilgrims are co-creator of their surrounding; they choose their environments, shape them through their behaviour and recollect them (or forget) after the experience is over." (1)
With technological evolution continuously questioning this theme of the "visible", the exhibition will present works by four artists whose practices focus on the status of the image through the use of technological mediums such as video, photography and works based on mechanised elements. The exhibition will question our personal recognition of landscapes and such so-called "sensescapes" which are defined by being subjective and inter-subjective mental constructions composed of meanings and symbols specific to each individual.
(1) Paolo BARBARO, The Senses, the Path and the Bus: A Sensory Ethnography of the Saigoku pilgrimage, p.2
Benoit Broisat's work evolves around the mechanism of perception, communication and transcription of images. His work questions images beyond their representation and our memories and testimonies of realities. Focusing on the relation between space and senses, image and history, the artist examines the way we often deconstruct the images we have in front of us to then reconstruct them with our own interpretation. In "Place Franz Liszt", Broisat constructed his own mental image of this particular place (which he has never visited) through the testimonies of its residents. Visually transcribing these mental compositions through drawings and videos, this work acts as the restitution of a certain psychological truth as well as a rendition of the personal choices and focus points of the viewer.
Realised in collaboration with the artist Gilles Balmet, "1950 da" (which is the name of the asteroid planned to collide with Earth in 800 years) shows what seems to be an aerial view panning over landscapes. In the video, we recognise mountains, valleys, deserts and even cities but in fact this landscape is no other than a slow travelling, not over land but, over an 80 x 120 cm painting. Playing on two levels of reading on the specific nature of the image, the artists de-contextualised the painting in order to extend it to the dimensions of a landscape.
Laura Buckley creates immersive dream-like environments in the making of sculptural, multi-screen installations, combining video, three-dimensional elements and sound. In this way, materiality and virtuality, as well as industrial and natural territories, co-exist in her work. She explains that her works are often "semi-performative, featuring reflective supports within the natural environment.
Studio activities are juxtaposed with real life events, exploring and blurring points of separation and overlap." Buckley also uses ambient sounds in her work enabling each piece to exist as an ensemble of elements all of which interact between each other and the viewer. Light plays a lead role in her installations as it interacts between projectors, structures and their surrounding walls.
Nourished by his background in engineering, Ian Burns creates highly inventive and mechanised sculptural installations to create fictional scenes in which the elements become more than reality itself. Encouraging the viewer to experiment with his work at different degrees, Burns integrates basic elements and objects into narratives which come together in the final act of viewing the work "on-screen". In this way, he interrogates with humour and curiosity these on-screen images, their construction and their representation of reality.
With "Glacier", a white plastic bag is attached to the back of a chair and is set in motion by the intervention of a fan creating movement and sound - from this on-going sequence of causes and effects we go on to see a live video image of a snow and wind swept ice field. Attached to a monitor via a small camera and live video feed, a construction of small motors and simple electronics give birth to a realistic and yet illusory landscape. Beyond any style consideration, the notion of assemblage here acts as a real concept; calling into question the special effects and technologies used in entertainment.
Sinta Werner's architectonic works deconstruct and fragment the space - creating not merely optical illusions but even elaborate fictitious environments through which the viewer's perception is misled by wrongfooted expectation and disorientation - therefore dissolving conventional ways of seeing and representing. These different scenarios are achieved by various techniques such as collage, pictorial arrangements in space and scenographic installations involving geometrical structures as well as architectural elements. Her latest series of collages offers visions of dehumanized landscapes where her cutting and slicing invoke mirages and visual hallucinations. Presented as individual entities, these partially cut-out landscapes offer reflections of themselves and other mutations opening towards other dimensions.
Benoit Broisat was born in 1980 in France. He lives and works in Paris. Solo shows include "Bonneville", Imagespassage, Annecy, France (2009); "Pop-Up", Maison du livre de l'image et du son, Villeurbanne, France (2007); "Place Franz Liszt", Galerie Cosmic, Paris (2006) / Group shows include "Arte Video Night", Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009); "Roof Gardens", "Retracing Exhibition", Royal College of Art, London (2009); Musée d'art contemporain de Tokyo (2008) "Entre-Temps"; "Re-construction"; Alain Robbe-Grillet Art: Art and Architecture, Serpentine Gallery, London (2007); "00s, L'histoire d'une décennie qui n'est pas encore nommée - Biennale de Lyon" (2007): "I still believe in miracles", ARC/Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2005)
Laura Buckley was born in 1977 in Ireland. She lives and works in London. Group shows include Meet Pamela, Project Space Leeds (2009); Laura Buckley, Hugo Paris, Haroon Mirza & Doug Fishbone, Rokeby, London (2009); Material Presence, 176, London (2008); It's A Sin: The Derek Jarman Film Programme, The Serpentine Gallery (2008); More Pricks than Kicks, Generator Projects, Dundee (2008); Future Map, The Arts Gallery, London (2007).
Ian Burns was born in 1964 in Australia. He lives and works in New York.
Solo shows include "Schrapnell from Märchenland", ); Hilger Contemporary, Vienna, Austria; "Do not try this at home", Mother's Tankstation, Dublin, Ireland (2008); The Front Room, St Louis Museum of Contemporary Art, St Louis, USA (2008); "The End", Galeria Espacio Minimo, Madrid, Spain (2007); Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York, NY (2005) / Group shows include "Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO", Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2009); Fax, The Drawing Center, New York, New York (2009); "Fantopia - A state of impossible perfection", Mother's Tankstation, Dublin, Ireland (2009); "New York State of Mind", Queens Museum, New York (2007)
Sinta Werner was born in 1977 in Germany. Lives and works in Berlin.
Solo shows include "Out of Frame", Christinger de Mayo, Zurich (2009); "Der subversive Raum", Galerie Kunstverein, Baden, Austria (2009); "Grey Areas", NETTIE HORN, London (2008); The Third Floor, COMA, Berlin (2008). Sinta has un upcoming solo show at NETTIE HORN in September/October 2010 / Group shows include "Magic Show", Hayward Gallery, touring exhibition, UK (2009-10); "Tiefer Raum und Fremde Welt", Kunstverein Aichach, Germany (2009); Sichtbarkeiten / Projektgalerie Hofmann von Sell, Berlin (2008); "Celeste Art Prize", Truman Brewery, London (2007)