Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian Presents Transformed Land / Terre Transformee

Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian Presents Transformed Land / Terre Transformée on view through 16 December 2011.

Transformed Land is an exhibition centred around recent trends in photography, generically associated with the representation of the landscape, in which particular perspicacity is shown in examining and assessing the topographical circumstances, histories and meanings bound up with the photographed place. It is therefore an exhibition that begins with the privileged genre of documentary photography (in its specificity and contemporary derivations) and moves on to propose a critical confrontation with our spatial and territorial references, with preponderant places and phenomena from the modern-day world, and their correlative ontological, civilisational and cultural dilemmas.

What does it mean to document and understand a landscape and a place photographically? To what extent does the photographic, in its limitations and potentialities, have the privilege of “opening up” the appearance of the place to its histories and stories and suggesting latent meanings? How is it that certain places, in turn, find themselves heavily marked by events from the past or awaken a spatial attention about themes from the contemporary world. These are questions that have guided the development of the central axis around which this exhibition is organised.

The majority of the works exhibited were produced over this last decade, a period that also corresponds to the full artistic affirmation of most of the 9 artists taking part: Claudia Angelmaier, Tacita Dean, Joachim Koester, Filipa Cesar, Geert Goiris, Jem Southam, Collier Schorr, Rachel Reupke and Benno Schlicht. Although they are very different in their aesthetic and ideological motivations, these artists are part of a new wave of photographers for whom photographic skills, as well as an interest in the representation of specific places, are closely interlinked in an increasingly reflective and appealing attitude: between the documentary approach and the projection of the imagination, between topographical description and the allusion to its political, social, historical and ecological resonances.

Image: Collier Schorr, “Arrangement #8 (Blumen),” 2006. Archival pigment print, 124,5 × 104,1 cm. Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

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