The Prix de Rome is the oldest and largest award for visual artists and architects (up to 40 years) in the Netherlands. The prize was founded in 1808 by King Louis Napoleon. The mission of the Prix de Rome is to trace talent and to identify trends in art and architecture in an international context “Borderline Picturesque & the Recounting Prospect” began with a residency in Tromsø in 2008, where it was my experience of, and integration into, an intriguing, and quite foreign to me, community that fuelled the project. A community defined by their traditions, histories, myths and landscape: for whom local identity was of the upmost importance and in which music and image played a vital role in defining and sustaining these traditions. Through a process of abstraction and translation, both physical and mental, I created the works. These works abstract imagery important to the defining of this micro culture; allowing them to speak more generally about ones relation to landscape as a cultural product. “Borderline Picturesque & the Recounting Prospect, (part one)” Is a diptych of still life images. I’d become fascinated by the codification and co-modification of the cities surrounding landscape and it’s affect on the local culture. After the residency I set about making sense of the information and images I’d collected, arranging and re-arranging the material on my studio table. This was an attempt to free myself from seeing these images as a symbolic or representational of an actual place and rather to see them for their inherent power out with their context. Of the diptych, one depicts a tower of generic landscape postcards collected in and around Tromsø, the other, a collection of ethnographical photographs depicting Sami life. Here I deliberately wanted to create an image which functioned both in terms of the native derived from associations to the objects depicted and the material affect of the composition.
‘Borderline Picturesque & the Recounting Prospect, (part two)’ is a wooden dressing screen with a landscape photography printed directly across the laser cut mdf panels. This work was inspired in part by the lacquer dressing screens of Eline Gray, and in part by the patterns and aesthetics I encountered in Northern Norway. I believe the way we encounter an image is of fundamental importance to its reading. With this work I was interested in experimenting with the possibilities of challenging the cultural hegemony of image based works being staged on a wall. It was my intention to experiment with destabilising the position from which you’re meant to experience an image; taking the sideways glimpse as an alternate model and the dressing screen as a domestic object that exemplifies the glimpse.
‘Borderline Picturesque & the Recounting Prospect, (part three)’, a sound work, addresses the desire and myths of exploring a foreign and forbidding landscape. I had images from Norwegian Polar Research Centre translated into text by a professional audio describer. This specific form of translation attempts to objectively convert the visual information into language and in so doing de-contextualise the images, leaving their underlying seduction abstract from any concrete situation. It is my home that the resulting works go beyond specific local politics, and speak more generally about our relationship to the land we occupy and the myths we build around that.
These works were produced during a period of support from the O&O funding from the CBK Rotterdam
Download Prix de Rome 2011 in PDF.